The Chapel Hill Methodist Church
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21 Centennial fcietorp, 18534953
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21 Centennial fytstorp, 18534953
A Committee of the Church
Fletcher M. Green, Editor
Chapter I The First Church, 185 3-1889 5
By Fletcher M. Green
II The Second Church, 1885-1920 15
By Mrs. William Whatley Pierson
III The Present Church, 1915-195 3 23
By Louis Round Wilson
IV Women's Work 5S
By Mrs. William Whatley Pierson
V Religious Activities of the Twentieth Century 52
By Louis Round Wilson and Edgar W. Knight
Appendix: List of Ministers 65
Compiled by Fletcher M. Green
Dr. Louis Round Wilson originally suggested the idea of a
centennial history of the Chapel Hill Methodist Church in a
letter to the pastor, the Reverend Henry G. Ruark, on July 6,
1949. After due consideration the minister appointed a com-
mittee to study the matter and to formulate plans for a history.
The committee members were Mrs. Hope S. Chamberlain, Fletcher
M. Green, Mrs. Guy B. Johnson, Edgar W. Knight, Mrs. Harold
G. McCurdy, Mrs. Walter Patten, Mrs. William Whatley Pierson,
Mrs. Marvin H. Stacy, and Dr. Louis R. Wilson, chairman. The
commilttee adopted a tentative outline and apportioned the
work of gathering data among its members.
Later Dr. Wilson resigned as chairman and was succeeded
by Fletcher M. Green. Others of the group resigned from the
committee. Finally, after the data were gathered, Mrs. Pierson,
Dr. Green, Dr. Knight, and Dr. Wilson were appointed to
write the history. On October 11, 1953, at the centennial cele-
bration service Dr. Green read a resume of the history to the
assembled congregation and presented the manuscript history
to the church.
The editor and corps of writers wish to acknowledge the
important contributions made by each and every member of the
original committee to the final product. Each of them spent
many hours in gathering data that went into the history as
written. The authors also wish to thank Mr. William S. Stewart,
chairman of the Board of Stewards, for the generous financial
aid of the Board that made possible the publication of this work.
The editor also wishes to express his appreciation to Miss
Dena Neville who typed the entire manuscript.
Fletcher M. Green
THE FIRST CHURCH, 1853-1889
Early Methodism in North Carolina
Methodism has been intimately intertwined with the history
of North Carolina, Orange County, and Chapel Hill from its
earliest days. Some of Methodism's great leaders of the early
period worked in Chapel Hill and vicinity, and the first great
seism in the church was led by James O'Kelly, minister of New
Hope Circuit which included Chapel Hill, and long a resident of
North Carolina was the scene of the labors of the early circuit
riding Methodists. Joseph Pillmore rode the Virginia Circuit,
which included North Carolina, in April, 1772, and was followed
by Robert Williams in 1773. The state early profited from the
circuit riding of Francis Asbury, who first came to North Caro-
lina in 1774. He was in the state again in 1776, and after 1780
visited it once or twice each year until his death. He preached
many times in Hillsboro and Pittsboro, and at least once in
Chapel Hill. On these occasions he preached to overflowing
crowds including both blacks and whites. On December 31,
1776, he preached to a congregation of between two and three
thousand people under an arbor erected specifically for church
services. After preaching to a large audience in Hillsboro in
August 2, 1780, he wrote in his Journal: "I had too mean an
opinion of Carolina ; it is a much better country, and the people
live much better than I expected from the information given
The first Methodist Society in North Carolina was organized
by Robert Williams in 1774. The first circuit in the state was
organized by the Baltimore Conference of 1776, and Edward
Dromgoole, Francis Poythress, and Isham Tatum were assigned
as riders of the "Carolina Circuit." The New Hope Circuit,
including Orange County, was organized in 1778. It had a mem-
bership of 542 when James O'Kelly was appointed its minister
in 1780. By the end of the Revolution the state contained
twelve of the fifty-two circuits, and had more than 4,000 mem-
bers of the Methodist Church.
The Revolution worked certain hardships on the Methodist
group. Many of the Societies were broken up; others were
prevented from holding regular services ; the circuit riders found
it difficult if not impossible to travel their circuits ; and the body
as a whole suffered the stigma of charges of pacifism. But able
and enthusiastic ministers quickly revived flagging spirits.
Preaching at Hillsboro in 1783 Asbury found his audience
"solemn but attentive"; in 1784 his congregation in the same
town was "larger and more enthusiastic." In 1785 the first
Annual Conference of the Church in North Carolina was held
at the home of Green Hill near Louisburg, and the first officers,
soon to be called presiding elders, were appointed. Hill, a
former member of the Provincial Congress of North Carolina,
was an ordained Methodist minister. This Conference dis-
patched its business in "peace and harmony, with . . . one excep-
tion. Jesse Lee took issue with Dr. Coke on the question of
slavery. . . . Dr. Coke opposed it [slavery] with so much zeal,
not to say imprudent zeal, that he stirred up antagonism almost
everywhere he went ... in North Carolina." On later visits
to the state Asbury preached to large and attentive audiences in
Hillsboro, ordained ministers at Rainey's, and in 1800 was at
Chapel Hill "treated with great respect at the University, by
the president, Colwell, [Joseph Caldwell] and the students,
citizens, and many of the country people." Nicholas Snethen,
who accompanied Asbury on this trip, preached a sermon in
Chapel Hill after which Asbury baptized some children. As-
bury said he was treated with affection by the local brethren
but saw little of the circuit riders or elders.
James O'Kelly, a resident of Virginia, was among the early
converts to Methodism in that state. He became an itinerant
preacher in 1777 and served efficiently for fifteen years. He
came to North Carolina in 1778 and organized New Hope Cir-
cuit. He wielded such a powerful influence over the people of
this section that it was said "no man enjoyed more entirely the
public confidence" than he. O'Kelly was a member of the
The First Chapel Hill Church
Council, the governing body of American Methodism from 1789
to 1792, and was largely instrumental in calling the Baltimore
General Conference of 1792, first since the organizing Christmas
Conference of 1784. He opposed giving the bishops absolute
power to assign ministers to the pastorate and, failing in his
demand for right of appeal to the Conference, he seceded from
the Conference declaring his intention to organize "a republi-
can, no slavery, glorious church." He was followed by thirty-
six ministers, and he organized the Republican Methodist Church
which drew from the parent body nearly ten thousand members,
about one fifth of its total. O'Kelly's church later came to be
called the Christian Church. O'Kelly settled near Chapel Hill
where he died in 1826.
Peter Doub, on the other hand, was a transitional figure in
the growth of North Carolina Methodism. Born in Stokes County
in 1796 of German-Swiss parentage, he was converted in 1817,
joined the Virginia Conference in 1818, served in that Confer-
ence as a preacher for many years, participated in the forma-
tion of the North Carolina Conference in 1838-1839, and lived
to see the great seism of 184,4-1845 when the Methodist Epis-
copal Church, South, was formed. Doub served the church as a
circuit rider, was pastor of numerous churches including that
at Chapel Hill, and was presiding elder of the Raleigh District
to which Chapel Hill belonged. He was at one time Conference
Temperance Lecturer. Throughout his fifty years in the min-
istry he was an enthusiastic advocate of religious education,
and in 1867 he retired from the ministry to become a professor
of biblical literature in Trinity College.
The First Chapel Hill Church, 1853-1889
During the early years of the nineteenth century a number of
people in and around Chapel Hill joined the Methodists. They
affiliated with various churches in Orange County, particularly
Orange Church some two miles from the village on the Hillsboro
road. A combination of events led these people to organize a
Methodist congregation in Chapel Hill in the early 1840's.
First of these was the division of the Virginia Conference
and the organization of the North Carolina Conference in 1838-
1839. The new Conference in 1840 called attention to the in-
junction in the church Discipline to form a Sunday school wher-
ever "ten children can be collected for the purpose." That same
year, young Charles Force Deems, native of Baltimore but at
that time a Methodist minister of Asbury, New Jersey, visited
North Carolina as an agent of the American Bible Society. He
met Peter Doub, then a presiding elder, and spent the summer
with him in a series of camp meetings.
In 1841, Deems attended the North Carolina Annual Confer-
ence held in Raleigh. He was welcomed by that body, was in-
vited to preach before it, and decided to transfer from the New
Jersey to the North Carolina Conference. It so happened that
David L. Swain, President of the University of North Carolina,
heard Deems's sermon and was favorably impressed. He was
at that time "exceedingly anxious" to secure a Methodist pro-
fessor for his faculty and invited Deems to visit Chapel Hill.
Deems did so, and in 1842 President Swain appointed him an
Adjunct Professor of logic and rhetoric. Whereupon the An-
nual Conference of the Methodist Church officially recognized
Deems as "attached to the University of North Carolina" and in
1843 assigned him to the pastorate of the Chapel Hill congre-
Earlier, in 1837, President Swain had established a Chaplain-
cy at the University with $200 provided by the Dialectic and the
Philanthropic Literary Societies supplemented by $400 from the
Trustees. Swain had offered the Chaplaincy to his wife's brother-
in-law, the Reverend Edward Wadsworth, a Methodist minister ;
the Reverend Hezekiah G. Leigh, presiding elder of the Raleigh
District, approved but the presiding bishop, the Reverend Thom-
as A. Morris, refused to confirm the appointment on the ground
that there were not enough Methodists in the University and
Chapel Hill to justify it. Consequently President Swain gave
the appointment to the Reverend William Mercer Green, an
Episcopal minister. Green invited Professor Elisha Mitchell
and Deems to take turns in conducting the Sunday chapel serv-
ices. They did so, and also conducted night services in the
village chapel, or Union Church as it was called, where vil-
lagers joined the students and faculty in religious worship.
Deems described his participation in these services as follows:
"In addition to my college duties I paid attention to the Meth-
odist church in the village and did all I could to build it up.
On Sunday night, in a little chapel on the site of the present
Presbyterian Church in the village, I took turns with the other
professors in preaching."
Ruffin Wirt Tomlinson, a student in the University in 1841-
1842, attended these services. He wrote: "preaching by the
Rev. Mr. Deems (Methodist preacher) who is sent here by
the Pennsylvania Bible Society. ... He is a man of great
reputation. He is an eloquent preacher. He looks quite child-
ish in the pulpit [.] He commanded the whole attention of the
house while preaching." Tomlinson also noted that Deems ap-
pointed two members of each class to collect money from the
students with which to purchase and send Bibles to all nations.
Tomlinson did not relish this idea. But on January 21, 1842, the
faculty at Deems' instigation, "Resolved unanimously that the
Faculty will contribute annually to the funds of such Bible So-
ciety as may be constituted and sustained by the students of the
University the requisite amount to procure a neat Bible to be
presented to each member of the Graduating Class." The prac-
tice thus begun of giving each graduate a Bible has been con-
tinued to the present day.
Deems "often preached" at the Orange Church of which
William M. Nesbit and John R. Mcintosh were the pastors in
1842 and 1843.
According to Cornelia Phillips Spencer, the Chapel Hill
Methodists who held membership in the Orange Church "began
to thirst for ministrations less staid and formal than those af-
forded by college professors, and took steps for holding meet-
ings of their own." A local minister, Elder Brock, occasionally
preached to the Methodist congregation.
Deems assisted this program and held services in the home of
Miles Davis on Rosemary Street across from the Presbyterian
Church. The services were well attended and Deems, according
to Kemp Plummer Battle, "preached excellent sermons at the
invitation of the people, but not perhaps by appointment of the
The congregation soon became too large to meet in a private
home, and in 1843 it secured the upper room in Jesse Har-
grove's store, formerly the assembly hall of the Masonic Lodge
and currently (1953) the building occupied by Danziger's Candy
Kitchen and Old World Restaurant. Deems named the place
Bethesda. The hall, said Battle, "was without furniture, ex-
cept backless pine benches, and a cloth covered table for a pulpit.
It was lighted at night by tallow candles set in wooden sockets.
The contrast between the material rudeness and the elegance
of the preacher was striking." Thus had Deems been instru-
mental in organizing the first Methodist congregation in Chapel
Hill. He served it without pay and, for a time, without an ap-
In 1844 the Annual Conference gave Deems an appointment
as pastor of the church. He was reassigned until 1847. He re-
signed his professorship in the University in 1847 and accepted
a position at Randolph Macon College, but returned to Chapel
Hill in 184,9 to preach the baccalaurate sermon. He later served
as pastor and presiding elder in the North Carolina Conference,
was a chaplain in the Confederate Army, and in 1867 founded
the Church of Strangers in New York City. His name is pre-
served in the University through the Deems Fund established
in memory of his son who was born in Chapel Hill and lost his
life at the battle of Gettysburg.
The membership of Bethesda numbered sixty-four whites
and eight Negroes in 1843. Unfortunately no membership
roster is now extant, but among the early members must have
been the Miles Davis family, two local preachers, the Elder Brock
and Lingurn S. Burkhead who married Davis's daughter, and
William H. Owen of Oxford, a graduate of the University in
the class of 1833 and for several years a tutor and Librarian of
the University. Miss Harriotte G. Cole, who came to Chapel
Hill to serve as secretary to Professor Deems, soon affiliated with
the church. She and her sister Miss Mary Catherine Cole were
members of the Episcopal Church but were led to transfer their
membership to the Methodist Episcopal Church by Professor
Deems. They later gave a communion service to the Chapel Hill
After Deems resigned, the Annual Conference failed to name
a pastor for the Chapel Hill congregation in 1847, 1848, and
1849. But the church gained a strong affiliate in 1849 when
Albert M. Shipp was appointed professor of history in the Uni-
versity. That same year Samuel Milton Frost, a native of Mocks-
ville and a former student at Emory and Henry College, was
elected a Deacon by the North Carolina Conference and entered
the University of North Carolina as a student. He became active
in the Chapel Hill congregation and, after ordination as an
Elder by Bishop Robert Paine, also a native North Carolinian,
at the Annual Conference meeting in the Warrenton Methodist
Church in 1850, Frost was assigned as the regular pastor of the
Chapel Hill Methodist Church of the Raleigh District. He, how-
ever, continued his studies in the University until his graduation
Supported by Shipp, Owen, and Burkhead, Frost increased
the membership and influence of the church. In 1851 it had a
membership of seventy-two whites and sixteen Negroes, a Sun-
day school with ten teachers and sixty scholars, spent $8 for
Sunday school supplies, and had a library of one hundred and
eighty volumes. The next year the membership increased to
eighty-three whites and twenty-two Negroes, and the library to
two hundred volumes.
Frost was exceedingly popular with faculty and students in
the University. By vote of the senior class he was chosen to
deliver the baccalaureate sermon when he graduated in 1852.
After graduation, Frost determined to carry out Deems'
plan to erect a new church building. He sought and secured
a leave of absence from the Conference in order to devote full
time to the collection of funds. He traveled throughout the
state visiting Greensboro, Salisbury, Hillsboro, Pittsboro, Ra-
leigh, Warrenton, and Henderson, among other places, and col-
lected $5,000. A lot, containing one acre more or less, situated
at the corner of Rosemary and Henderson Streets was purchased
from the University. One Horn of Pittsboro was employed
as architect and builder, and by the summer of 1853 the
building was completed. The church was dedicated on Sunday,
July 3, 1853, by the Reverend Rufus T. Heflin. This was the
first building erected in Chapel Hill as a Methodist church. It
still stands and is today (1953) occupied by the offices of Webb
and Webb Architects.
Frost was transferred to the Fayetteville church by the An-
nual Conference of 1854. He later left the ministry and became
an educator. He was president of several schools and colleges
and finally removed to Pennsylvania.
The Chapel Hill Church was bracketed with the Hillsboro
Methodist Church as a station by the North Carolina Annual
Conference in 1852, and J. L. Fisher was appointed pastor. The
Chapel Hill Church was made a separate charge in 1854 and
the Reverend Peter Doub was appointed its minister. At that
time the church had 124 white and 36 Negro members, and 450
volumes in its library. At that Conference the church was
separated from Hillsboro. Other pastors of the Church prior
to the Civil War were H. T. Hudson, Adolphus W. Mangum,
Jesse A. Cunninggim, and John W. Jenkins.
Adolphus Williamson Mangum, son of Elison and first cousin
of Wilie P. Mangum, was graduated from Randolph-Macon Col-
lege in 1854. His father, who had hoped that Adolphus would
follow his illustrious cousin in law and politics, was greatly dis-
appointed when Adolphus joined the Methodist ministry in 1856.
While pastor of the Chapel Hill Church in 1858-1859 Mangum
conducted revival services at which 112 people, many of them
college students, were converted. Several of them joined the
Methodist Church. Mangum was a chaplain during the Civil
War and served in the hospitals and prison at Salisbury. He
returned to Chapel Hill as a professor in the University in 1875
and remained until 1890. He was a valuable member of the
Chapel Hill Church.
The maximum membership of the Chapel Hill Methodist
Church prior to the Civil War was 148 white and 40 Negroes.
The maximum strength of the Sunday school was 15 teachers
and 81 scholars, and of the library 500 volumes. The largest
sum raised in any one year for the Sunday school was $45.96
for literature and $30.00 for catechisms.
The church declined in numbers and influence during the
war years. Some of its members enlisted in the Confederate
Army; others moved away from Chapel Hill; and the life of
others was disrupted by the disasters of war. The Sunday school
was also disorganized during the war. The Quarterly Con-
ference of 1863 resolved to carry on the Sunday school work,
but several schools were forced to close during the war. That
at the Chapel Hill Church continued to function but with great-
ly reduced numbers. The church membership dropped to 115
whites and 12 Negroes and the library dropped to 150 volumes.
Ministers during the war years were Robert A. Willis, Wil-
liam C. Wilson, and R. S. Webb. The church was in the Raleigh
District until 1862. During the war years it was shunted back
and forth between the Raleigh and Fayetteville Districts, but
in 1866 was again placed regularly in the Raleigh District. In
1872 is was placed in the Hillsboro District where it remained
until 1883. It was placed in the Durham District in 1884 where
it still remains. In 1867 the Chapel Hill Church was combined
with the Haw River Church which union continued until 1878.
Shortly after the close of the Civil War membership in the
Chapel Hill Church jumped to 158 whites and 45 Negroes, and
in 1867 it numbered 219 and 58. In 1869-1870 the Negro mem-
bers of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, withdrew and
organized a separate church. Consequently the Negro member-
ship dropped from over 250,000 to less than 125,000. The
Chapel Hill Negro membership declined even more drastically,
dropping from a maximum of 81 in 1864 to 8 in 1871.
The Reconstruction period brought a revival of interest in
Sunday schools. The North Carolina Annual Conference of
1870 voted to participate in the Sunday School Convention held
in Nashville, Tennessee, and elected W. S. Black, Presiding
Elder of the Raleigh District, a delegate to that body. The suc-
ceeding Annual Conference by a divided vote went on record as
favoring the use of "The Uniform Lesson System," including
Eggleston's Teacher's Manual first published in 1869. That Con-
ference also appointed the Reverend James Reid Sunday School
Agent. R. S. Strowd, lay delegate from Chapel Hill, was a mem-
ber of the Conference Committee on Sunday Schools. The
Chapel Hill Sunday school grew rapidly and soon had a large
membership with a regular attendance of nearly one hundred.
Unfortunately the school at a rural country church, which was
a part of the Chapel Hill charge, usually suspended during the
The church too grew in numbers and financial strength. The
Quarterly Conference of December 20, 1884, reported the pastor's
salary at $500.00. The church also contributed $80.00 to the
presiding elder, $7.65 to the Bishop's Fund, $27.00 to Confer-
ence Claims, $55.00 to foreign missions, $25.00 to home missions,
and $20.00 to church extension. During the 1880's the Chapel
Hill charge was assigned two ministers one of whom served the
rural church attached to the Chapel Hill Church. The combined
membership was too weak, however, to support adequately the
church program, especially since much of the work was carried
on among the University students who contributed little to the
financial support of the church. Consequently, the Conference
Board of Missions began in the late 1870's to contribute annually
to the support of the Chapel Hill Church. The amount con-
tributed varied from year to year, but the $187.50 contributed
in 1889 was about average.
The general increase in church membership and attendance
led the Chapel Hill congregation to consider building a new
and larger church, and at the Quarterly Conference on Septem-
ber 19, 1885, the Reverend R. B. John, pastor of the church,
moved that the Conference appoint a committee for that pur-
pose. The motion carried and a committee of five was appointed.
Money was collected and a church was erected on a lot on Frank-
lin Street which had been purchased in 1878. The edifice was
completed and ready for services early in 1889. Consequently,
John H. Watson, C. E. King, R. S. Strowd, Foster Utley, W. H.
Cunninggim, and Jones Watson, Trustees of the Chapel Hill
Methodist Church, South, on March 8, 1889, sold for $800.00 the
lot and old church building on Rosemary Street together with
all appurtenances, "the Organ, Clock and Bible alone excepted."
The purchaser was W. H. Hubbard, Treasurer of the American
Missionary Association of New York. The old building was
used as a Congregational Church for a number of years, later as
a garage, and today (1953) by Webb and Webb Architects.
Thus one era of the Chapel Hill Methodist Church came to an
end, but a more prosperous, effective, and worthwhile one was
The Second Church
THE SECOND CHURCH, 1885-1920
As early as 1878 the Trustees of the Chapel Hill Methodist
Episcopal Church, South, anticipated the need for a larger build-
ing and proceeded to negotiate for a suitable building site. On
August 6, 1878, for the sum of $500, Wesley J. Newton, John H.
Watson, John W. Carr, Foster Utley, Solomon Pool, Thomas A.
Long, and Jones Watson, the Trustees of the Church, bought
from Thomas A. Long and his wife, Zoa A. Long, "a certain lot
or parcel of land lying and being in the Village of Chapel Hill,
bounded on the North by Main or Franklin Street of said Village,
on the West by the lot of Seaton M. Barbee, on the South by the
College Campus, and on the East by the lot of Jones Watson and
containing one acre more or less."
At the Quarterly Conference of September 19, 1885, the
Reverend R. B. John moved that "a committee of five be ap-
pointed to build a new church at Chapel Hill as prescribed by the
Discipline." Dr. Adolphus W. Mangum, a former pastor, an
active member of the church, and a professor in the University,
presented the needs for such a church, after which the motion
was carried. T. W. Harris, Foster Utley, J. W. Carr, John H.
Watson, and Vernon W. Long were appointed members of a
building committee. In March of 1886 this committee reported
that "enough funds have been promised from a partial canvass
of the membership of the Chapel Hill Church and from a few
friends outside to assure the success of the enterprise. We hope
to raise enough to pay at least for the burning of the bricks this
summer, and if possible, to commence the building." In June
of 1887, J. R. Griffith reported for the building committee and
stated that "the church is now ready for the cover. We have
raised $1,786.50 and have vouchers for $1,664.64, and we owe
$300 which must be paid at once. We have in good subscriptions
about $600 which can be made available." The church building
was completed early in 1889, but there was some debt on it so
it could not be dedicated. Kemp Plummer Battle's History of the
University of North Carolina gives a report of the Commence-
ment exercises in June of 1889 in which the following statement
appears: "The Baccalaureate Sermon was by Bishop W. W.
Duncan of the M. E. Church. The text was Matthew 20 : 20-28.
Seldom do such sermons have as true, practical, godly wisdom as
his. At night he preached in the New Methodist Church. There
was a debt of $800 on the building. A subscription was taken up,
the amount raised, and the Church dedicated." This is the
building which now stands on the church grounds and is used
for a community recreation center. The church property at the
time of the dedication was valued at $9,000.
During the years when the second church was in process of
construction, C. E. King was treasurer of the church. A. S.
Barbee succeeded King as treasurer, and at the first Quarterly
Conference of 1891, Barbee reported on the new building for
the board of trustees. He stated that on August 9, 1888, the
trustees borrowed from the Church Extension Board $500 at 6%
interest; the Ladies Aid Society gave $100 to the building fund;
and the remainder was made up by subscriptions. At that time
the debt had been liquidated, but $181.20 remained to be col-
lected from the subscription list. Barbee, for the trustees,
thanked Miss Harriotte Gillespie Cole (Miss Hattie Cole), Miss
Clara Martin, Miss Alice Wilson, and Mrs. E. R. Carr for their
aid in the solicitation of funds. He further reported that Miss
Harriotte Cole and her sister, Miss Mary Catharine Cole, had
donated to the church a silver communion set and a handsome
organ. This organ remained in the church until the third church
was built in 1926, at which time it was given to a Negro church
in the town.
The Methodist Church in Chapel Hill had experienced some
decline in activities and effectiveness for several years prior
to the erection of the second church building. The reports of
the Quarterly Conference indicate poor attendance at church
and lack of interest in related church activities. In his report
to the Quarterly Conference of June 16, 1888, the Reverend R.
C. Beaman, pastor of the church, said : "It is hard to say what
the general state of the church is. Spiritually it is not what it
should be. Our people are not altogether fervent in spirit —
serving the Lord as they should be. Indeed, I am having the
same experience here I have always had; the Harvest truly is
plenteous but the laborers are few. Fifty per cent of the Church
is practically dead. The charge needs an old fashioned revival
— awakening by its Almighty power the aged and the young."
Soon after the dedication of the second church building R. L.
Strowd was elected Sunday School Superintendent. He served
for one year and was followed by A. S. Barbee. The school was
well attended by the children, but there was little interest among
the adults. There were four officers, twelve teachers and one
hundred and twenty-five scholars in the Sunday school, and the
Southern Methodist Literature was used exclusively.
The Reverend W. B. North was pastor from 1889 to 1890.
During his short stay on this charge two controversial issues
arose which caused friction among the church members. The
first took place in 1889 when "the membership of seven colored
persons was transferred (by request) by certificate to the Con-
gregational Church of Chapel Hill — (being the old Methodist
Church) — which had been purchased for them by Northern
friends." Two years later, the Reverend E. H. Davis as pastor
restored the names of these seven colored persons to the church
register. This action was not approved by some white members
who protested Davis's authority. The protest was unsigned but
it led to a lively discussion by the Quarterly Conference. Since
it is of interest and indicates some of the growing pains which
accompany church expansion, the protest is quoted in its en-
tirety. It reads as follows: "Whereas, in April 1889, Rev. W.
B. North, pastor transferred seven colored members to the Con-
gregational Church of Chapel Hill, N. C, and so entered upon his
church register and reported said action to the 1st ensuing
Quarterly Conference then following from which action there
was no appeal as the Law of our Church provided. And where-
as in Feb. 1891 — (near two years intervening) — Rev. E. H.
Davis restored the names of the said seven persons to the Church
Register and so reported his action to the Quarterly Conference.
Now therefore, I submit as a question of Church Law that 1st,
the Pastor can not legally review, adjudge, and set aside the
recorded action of the former pastor — 2nd that whatever rights
the persons in question might have had under our law, said
rights had been forfeited by lapse of time as in case of certificate
membership." No action was taken ; these colored persons were
left on the church register, and they remained members of the
church until their death.
The second action of the Reverend Mr. North was much more
serious in its outcome.
"On July 13, 1890, the pastor, Rev. W. B. North, used words
in the church which were construed by the Sunday School Super-
intendent, A. S. Barbee, as offensive and deprecatory of the
Superintendent and his teachers in the Sunday School." The
superintendent tendered his resignation which was refused, but
an investigation followed. W. H. Cunningham was appointed
mediator and the Reverend Mr. North was granted release from
his duty. The Reverend Lee Whitaker was given charge of the
church for the remainder of the year. The findings of the
mediator were: "There were no complaints of immorality but
of maladministration, usurpation, improper words and temper."
Whereupon the Reverend Mr. North wrote a letter of apology
to Mr. Barbee which was accepted. The incident was thus
peaceably settled and Barbee continued to serve ably as superin-
tendent for several years following the misunderstanding.
Interest in the church and Sunday school work lagged during
the early 1890's. The pastor's reports show much concern over
the lack of interest on the part of the adult members, and a
corresponding decline in attendance. The average attendance
in the Sunday school services dropped from one hundred and
twenty-five to thirty between 1890 and 1892. The pastor, the
Reverend N. W. Watson, reported that officers and teachers were
faithful in their work but that the parents generally were un-
interested in the church services. Under Watson's leadership
the Sunday school was reorganized on October 17, 1892, and
both Sunday school and church work began to improve and
flourish. A teachers' meeting was formed, which seems to have
been the forerunner of the present-day workers' council. The
Quarterly Conference Report of June 25, 1894, made special
reference to the fine work being done in the Infant Class. In
October of 1895 the moribund "Juvenile Missionary Society" was
reorganized as the Bright Jewels and became a most active group.
In 1896, the Reverend L. S. Massey assisted in organizing
a Bible Class for adults. This class gave needed vitality to the
entire Sunday school program. During the next three years
under the Reverend N. H. D. Wilson's pastorate, the Adult
Bible Class continued to grow as did the Bright Jewels and the
Woman's Foreign Missionary Society. In November of 1897,
through the Reverend Mr. Wilson's leadership, an Epworth
League was organized. The pastor devoted one service each
month to the children and young people. In 1900, it was reported
that the Epworth League was holding social meetings in addi-
tion to its regular devotional meetings, and that the Sunday
school had its largest recorded attendance.
During the first decade of the twentieth century the Sunday
school and other church activities enjoyed real progress and
expansion. These were the years in which the Reverend N. W.
Watson and the Reverend M. T. Plyler served as pastor. Dr.
L. R. Wilson became superintendent of the Sunday school in
1906 and Dr. Marvin H. Stacy became the teacher of a Bible
Class which was organized to interest University students.
Within one year after its organization there were sixty members
in this class. In 1906 a Senior Epworth League was organized
for college students and by 1907 there were eighty persons en-
rolled in this League. In his pastor's report of April 27, 1907,
the Reverend W. R. Royall reported that there were ten more
members of the Sunday school than there were church members.
The wide awake Student Bible Class and a most successful Ep-
worth League were responsible for a large part of this growth.
The Bright Jewels and the Woman's Foreign Missionary con-
tinued their activities but they had little increase in membership.
On September 9, 1907, a special Quarterly Conference was
called to consider business matters of the church. The Con-
ference "empowered the Trustees to sell the old parsonage on
College Avenue for $1,250 and to purchase the property known
as the Carr property situated on Franklin Street for $3,000."
On April 19, 1908, another special Quarterly Conference "au-
thorized the Trustees to apply to the Conference Woman's Soc-
iety for a gift of $100 and a loan of $1,400 to be applied toward
the parsonage debt."
During the first decade of the century there was increased
interest and activity in the children's department of the Sunday
school. Mrs. Clyde Eubanks and Mrs. R. O. E. Davis, leaders
of this department, deserve major credit for its growth. The
Reverend Mr. Royall and Sunday School Superintendent Wilson
praised the work of these ladies, and especially commended
the fine programs which the children gave in observance of
Children's Day. The church suffered a great loss in 1909 when
Dr. and Mrs. R. 0. E. Davis moved to Washington, D. C. The
Quarterly Conference of November, 1909, expressed the apprecia-
tion of the Sunday school and the church for their many services.
In 1910 A. E. Waltz became Sunday school superintendent and
Dr. Charles L. Raper succeeded Dr. Stacy as teacher of the
Young Men's Bible Class. Stacy had done such excellent work
with this group that Dr. Raper found a group of ninety-three
young men enrolled in his class.
The Reverend W. A. Stanbury followed the Reverend Mr.
Royall as pastor of the church, and he adopted a plan of taking
one Sunday night each month for a missionary conference and
prayer meeting. The pastor was assisted in this program by
University Student Volunteers. At this time there were two
hundred and twenty Methodist students enrolled in the Univer-
sity. In September of 1911 there was added to the Sunday school
a cradle roll department and a home department. The following
September the Men's Bible Class was organized. There had been
Men's Bible Classes organized several times prior to this, but
none of them had remained active for a long period of time. It
was not until 1926 that a permanent Men's Bible Class was or-
ganized with R. B. House as teacher. Chancellor House still
teaches this class and it is one of the strongest arms of the Sun-
day school and church.
The Reverend G. S. Bearden served as pastor to the Chapel
Hill Methodists in 1913. During his year of service there was
a substantial increase in attendance and in interest in the mid-
week prayer meetings. Prior to this time little had been re-
ported about these services except scattered remarks in pastors'
reports which indicated that little interest in them had been
manifested by the membership.
The Reverend Walter Patten served this charge from 1913-
1916 and again from 1922-1926. Soon after he came to Chapel
Hill, Dr. Patten conducted the first church-wide Mission Study
Class to be taught in the Chapel Hill Methodist Church under
the joint auspices of the pastor and the Woman's Missionary
Society. He and Mrs. Patten also organized a Junior Epworth
League and Mrs. Marvin H. Stacy became superintendent of this
League. The second Sunday in September was designated as
Sunday School Day at the Chapel Hill Church and the home
department of the Sunday school was led by Mrs. Gattis. The
pastor reported in 1915 that the Junior Epworth League had
pursued a course of study as outlined in the Probation Manual.
"This covers Christian Faith, the Church, Church Membership,
Covenants, Rules and Ritual." Two new Sunday school classes
were organized — one for young men from the town, taught by
Frank Strowd, and one for boys, taught by Mrs. Strowd. Dr.
Raper's class of University students reported an enrollment of
230 young men. In the primary department of the Sunday
school there was also an increase in enrollment. Clyde Eubanks
gave small chairs to help equip this division. The Reverend
Mr. Patten also aroused interest in securing an organ for the
church. In the Quarterly Conference of 1915 the following
persons were appointed to plan ways and means of installing
an organ in the church: Mrs. J. D. Webb, Mrs. A. S. Barbee,
Mrs. M. H. Stacy, Dr. E. A. Abernethy, Clyde Eubanks, Dr. C. I,.
Raper, R. L. Strowd, and Dr. H. M. Wagstaff.
During the Summer School session of 1916, Professor Stacy
lectured to the entire Sunday school. This was necessary be-
cause of increased enrollment, the large number of visitors,
and lack of rooms in which to hold individual classes. As a
result of this critical situation, on March 13, 1917, a building
committee for a Sunday school building was elected. The mem-
bers of this committee were: H. M. Wagstaff, L. R. Wilson,
Clyde Eubanks, R. L. Strowd, and Walter Patten.
On October 12, 1919, the Fourth Quarterly Conference em-
powered "their pastor to fully lay before the respective annual
sessions of the North Carolina Conference and the Western
North Carolina Conference the urgent need of this church for
a very much enlarged building to the end that the spiritual
interests of the 400 Methodist students of the University and of
the citizens of the town may be adequately conserved."
During the remainder of the Reverend Mr. Patten's first
period of service in Chapel Hill and for the three years in
which the Reverend Euclid McWhorter was Pastor the Sunday
school, the Epworth League, and the Women's Societies expanded
their work. The League grew so much that, in addition to the
weekly meetings, monthly socials were held in a room provided
for them by R. L. Strowd. Children's Day programs under the
direction of Miss Josephine Pritchard and Miss Annie Lee Webb
focused the attention of the entire Sunday school on the ex-
cellent work being done with the young people of the church.
In 1917 a "Teacher Training Class" with Dr. Harry W. Chase
as teacher was organized in Chapel Hill as a cooperative project
among the Protestant churches and five of the Methodist Sunday
school teachers attended this class. The Men's Bible Class
had also taken on new life and in September of 1918 the Reverend
Mr. McWhorter began teaching a "Citizen's Class" in rooms pro-
vided over a store near the church. The Woman's Missionary
Society grew larger and its activities were greatly broadened.
With the enthusiasm engendered by the prospects of a new
church and under the leadership of excellent pastors, the Chapel
Hill Methodist Church disclosed the vitality for the great work
to be done in the next decade.
The Present Methodist Church
BUILDING THE PRESENT METHODIST CHURCH
The ideas which resulted in the erection of the present
Methodist church building may be traced to several sources.
The first of these was the fertile, constructive mind of the Rev-
erend Walter Patten who began his first pastorate in Chapel
Hill in December, 1913. For two years he had witnessed the
growth in the number of students of the University and the
corresponding growth of the need for space for the congregation
and the Sunday school. Under the teaching of Dr. Charles L.
Raper, he had seen the student class at the Sunday school grow
in numbers until it had an average attendance of approximately
one hundred, with as many as one hundred and fifty students
sometimes present. It outgrew the twenty-two by thirty-three
foot classroom it had occupied for two decades under the stimu-
lating guidance of Professor Karl P. Harrington, William F.
Strowd, and Professor Marvin H. Stacy. In the summer, when
taught by Professor Stacy, with both men and women present
from the Summer School, it had to be housed in the main audi-
torium, with all other classes being crowded into the room
usually occupied by it and into the primary department room.
Commenting on the significance of the situation in his pas-
toral report of November 9, 1915, the Reverend Mr. Patten
said : "... There is an imperative need for a Sunday School
building. If our local church will unite in its interest and
efiorts, this building can be secured."
Dr. Patten not only called the matter to the attention of
the Chapel Hill Church, but at the North Carolina Conference in
1916, he secured the inclusion in the Report of the Sunday School
Board specific approval of the idea. The Conference adopted
the following recommendation : " . . . That a local building com-
mittee of seven members be appointed by the proper authorities,
and that the Sunday School Board, the Board of Missions, and
the Board of Church Extension of the North Carolina Confer-
ence appoint one representative from its respective Board to
cooperate with and be constituted members of this building
committee, and that this committee press to a speedy conclusion
this important work."
On February 8, 1917, the First Quarterly Conference of the
local church appointed the following Building Committee : R. L.
Strowd, L. R. Wilson, M. H. Stacy, Clyde Eubanks, N. W. Wal-
ker, and Dr. E. A. Abernethy. At a called meeting on March
13, 1917, Dr. H. M. Wagstaff was added. On July 19, H. M.
Wagstaff was elected chairman ; Walter Patten, secretary ; N. W.
Walker, chairman of the plans committee; L. R. Wilson, chair-
man of the solicitation committee. Members designated by the
boards of the two Conferences were: Dr. D. B. Zollicoffer, the
Reverend N. H. D. Wilson, the Reverend Walter Patten, of the
North Carolina Conference, and G. L. Hackney and Colonel F.
S. Lambeth, of the Western North Carolina Conference. N. H.
D. Wilson was added to the subcommittee on plans, and F. S.
Lambeth, G. L. Hackney, N. H. D. Wilson, Dr. D. B. Zollicoffer,
M. H. Stacy, C. L. Raper, and Walter Patten to the subcommittee
C. C. Hook, architect, of Charlotte, had been engaged by
Dr. Patten to draft preliminary plans of the proposed extension
building. Upon their completion in 1917 they were reproduced
in an eight-page brochure containing pictures of the church and
of the student class and a statement of the needs for expansion,
which was to be used in the proposed campaign for financial
The entry of the United States into World War I in April,
1917, forced the abandonment of all building projects, and
centered the attention of the nation upon the successful waging
of the War. Consequently, the church building plans were tem-
porarily laid aside. At the meeting of the North Carolina Con-
ference of 1917 at the end of his quadrennium at Chapel Hill,
Dr. Patten was transferred to Greenville. He was succeeded by
the Reverend Euclid McWhorter who, at the beginning of 1918,
found the University distraught by the large-scale entry of
students into the armed services, by the taking over of the
campus by the Student's Army Training Corps during the sum-
mer, and by the scourge of the unprecedentedly severe influenza
epidemic of the fall and winter of 1918-1919 which paralyzed the
campus and, before it was over, cut down in the prime of their
usefulness, President Edward Kidder Graham, in October, 1918.
and his successor Dean Marvin H. Stacy, in January, 1919.
With the election of Dr. Harry W. Chase as President in
1919 and the return of students from the War, the Reverend Mr.
McWhorter sensed the need for a building and on October 12,
1919, he reported to the Quarterly Conference that "We are
greatly interested in securing a new church which would be
representative of our Methodism and hope to present plans in the
near future." In response to his suggestion, the Quarterly
Conference passed the following resolution: "Resolved, That
the Fourth Quarterly Conference in session the 12th of October,
1919, empower their pastor to fully lay before the respective an-
nual sessions of the North Carolina Conference and the Western
North Carolina Conference the urgent need of this church for
a very enlarged building to the end that the spiritual interests
of the 400 Methodist students of the University and of the citizen-
ship of the town may be adequately conserved."
The plans proposed by the Reverend Mr. McWhorter, however,
were not for a new Sunday school building to be erected at the
rear of the old church, but for an entirely new structure that
would provide for an enlarged auditorium as well as adequate
space and facilities for the Sunday school and the student class.
He continued the discussion of plans and at the meeting of
the North Carolina Conference in 1919 secured the appointment
of the Reverend M. T. Plyler, Presiding Elder of the Durham
District and former pastor at Chapel Hill, and the Reverend
A. D. Wilcox, of the Board of Missions, and himself, Chairman
of the Board of Church Extension, to confer with representatives
of the Western North Carolina Conference concerning the build-
ing of a new church.
The outcome of these consultations was favorable. The re-
sults were reported in The Durham District Reflector, Durham,
N. C, April, 1920, and in the Report of the Board of Missions
of the North Carolina Conference for 1920.
The first meeting of the two committees, appointed by the
North Carolina Conference and the Western North Carolina
Conference at their sessions in 1919, was held at Chapel Hill,
March 16, 1920. The members of the committees were the
Reverends E. K. McLarty, R. M. Courtney, A. W. Plyler, M. T.
Plyler, and Euclid McWhorter. Illness prevented the Reverend
A. D. Wilcox from attending. Members of the official board of
the Chapel Hill Church and President H. W. Chase met with
them. President Chase reported that one-third of the students
were Methodists, and that it was a question of only a few years
when there would be 1,000 Methodists on the Hill instead of the
4,34 then in attendance. This Joint Commission unanimously
agreed that the Methodists of North Carolina should proceed to
build a plant costing around $150,000.
The Board of Missions in its Report for 1920 recommended
the continuance of this Joint Commission and the addition of
another representative from the Board of Missions and one from
the Board of Church Extension. It appointed the Reverend
Walter Patten as the additional representative of the Board of
Missions. It also adopted the following resolution: "Resolved,
That it is the sense of this Board that the time has come when we
must face the problem of retaining our hold upon the life of our
young people in our State educational institutions, and in order
not to interfere with the previously planned program of our
leaders in the Church we recommend that the Boards of Missions
in the two Conferences of North Carolina contribute $20,000.00
each; the Church Extension Boards $10,000.00 each; the General
Church Extension Board $20,000.00 ; the local community $20,-
000.00 ; and that the alumni of the University be canvassed to
contribute $50,000.00 for the building of a Methodist Church at
Chapel Hill. Whenever the above mentioned parties shall have
complied by cash, or subscriptions, with the proposed plan, then
this Board pledges itself to provide for its part of the above
amount. In furtherance of this plan we recommend the contin-
uance of this Commission on this work."
Both Conferences approved these recommendations. The
North Carolina Conference named as its members the Reverends
M. T. Plyler, A. D. Wilcox, Euclid McWhorter, Walter Patten,
and C. T. Rogers. The Western North Carolina Conference
named Leon Cash and the Reverends E. K. McLarty and R. M.
Courtney. The Reverend J. H. Barnhardt was appointed to re-
place Walter Thompson, deceased, and J. F. Shinn was appointed
to fill a position for which no one had been previously named.
The response of the Chapel Hill Church to this action was
immediate. The meeting of the Quarterly Conference on March
5, 1921, passed a resolution authorizing its board of trustees to
borrow or accept as a conditional donation $20,000 from the
Board of Church Extension, and on July 7, 1921, authorized the
board of stewards, with Dr. L. R. Wilson, Lay Leader, as chair-
man, to serve as a committee to raise the $20,000, and appointed
N. W. Walker, L. R. Wilson, Clyde Eubanks, R. L. Strowd, and
Dr. E. A. Abernethy as a building committee to cooperate with
the representatives on the Joint Commission of the two Confer-
ences. Dr. Edgar W. Knight was later appointed to replace Dr.
Abernethy as a member of the Joint Commission.
The spontaneity with which the various boards, both local and
of the Conferences, responded to the proposals submitted by Dr.
Patten and Dr. McWhorter may be attributed in part to the
spirit of the times as well as the demonstrated opportunity for
North Carolina Methodism. World War I had been successfully
waged. North Carolina had thrown off the spirit of defeatism
that had prevailed from 1865 to 1920 and had demonstrated
through the conduct of several mammoth bond issue drives that
through energetic, cooperative action it could accomplish tasks
that it had hitherto considered impossible. Thousands of young
men had gone overseas or to camp outside North Carolina and
had gained a new outlook on life. The value of a college education
had likewise been enhanced in their estimation and thousands of
them and of the young women of the state were seeking admis-
sion to North Carolina colleges. The University was packing four
students per room into space intended for two. Successful state-
wide campaigns had been conducted for bond issues for $20,000,-
000 for state institutions, including the University, and $50,000,-
000 for good roads which were authorized by the legislature of
1921. The church, through its officers and boards, sensed the
significance of the moment and determined to take advantage
of the opportunity before it passed. It moved resolutely to that
Consequently, at the meetings of the Conferences in late 1921,
the Joint Commission on the Chapel Hill Church reported that it
had been authorized by the two Conferences to proceed with the
building of a $150,000 church, the money to be secured as fol-
lows: From the two Boards of Missions $20,000 each; the two
Boards of Church Extension $20,000 each; the local community
$20,000 ; and the Alumni of the University $50,000.
The Commission also reported that the old church lot had
proved inadequate ; that an exchange of properties had been ini-
tiated with the University which would be advantageous to both
parties ; that the local church had assumed its allocation of $20,-
000 of the building fund; and, in order that the local church
could be organically related to the Commission in working out
the many details involved in building, it had been mutually
agreed that the Commission having charge of the Chapel Hill
enterprise be comprised of five additional members, namely, L.
R. Wilson, E. W. Knight, R. L. Strowd, Clyde Eubanks, and N.
W. Walker, thus making a Commission of fifteen members which
would be charged with working out all plans and pushing the en-
terprise to its completion.
The report signed by Dr. M. T. Plyler, chairman, and the
Reverend R. M. Courtney, secretary, was formally adopted, the
membership completed, and the Commission assumed its full re-
The work which lay before the Commission was by no means
simple. As already indicated, more land had to be acquired to
provide adequate space for the type of physical plant required.
Negotiations had been begun by the local church in September,
1921, through a subcommittee of the Quarterly Conference con-
sisting of L. R. Wilson, chairman, R. L. Strowd, and Euclid Mc-
Whorter. These negotiations had to be completed and the actual
transfer had to be authorized and effected by the Joint Commis-
sion. This involved the purchase from the University of the Sea-
ton Barbee property adjoining the church lot on Franklin Street
on the northwest ; the purchase of A. S. Barbee store on Frank-
lin Street on the northeast ; and the exchange of the A. S. Barbee
property with the University for several vacant fraternity lots
which it owned on the southwest between the Seaton Barbee pro-
perty and the campus. These complicated transactions resulted
later in the acquisition at a cost of $18,000 of space that more
than doubled the old church grounds and provided adequately
for the immediate erection of an auditorium that would seat one
thousand persons ; the pastor's study and church offices ; a kit-
chen and dining room; a second connecting unit that would
house parlors, classrooms, and other facilities for the use of the
church, the Sunday school, and the student classes ; and a third
unit to be erected on the site of the old church when the growth
of the congregation and the students made such a building neces-
Before these preliminaries could be completed, however, sev-
eral other important matters had to be given attention. Dr. Mc-
Whorter's four-year pastorate came to an end in 1921 and a suc-
cessor who could prosecute the work effectively had to be ap-
pointed. The Reverend Walter Patten was reappointed and
returned for this purpose. He was immediately designated
as the financial agent of the Joint Commission, and assumed
leadership in 1922 not only in the solicitation of funds from
friends and alumni, but in all of the planning essential to
the successful carrying out of the program. This included the
final exchange and acquisition of properties, the securing of
funds from the respective Conference boards, the selection of an
architect, and the development of plans.
Since all these matters required considerable time for their
proper handling, two other building programs had to be carried
on concurrently. Inasmuch as the number of students at the Uni-
versity had practically doubled between 1915 and 1922 and the
congregation had expanded correspondingly, additional space
had to be secured immediately through the erection of a parson-
age that would serve for several years not only as the home and
study of the pastor, but as a meeting place for many of the
boards, committees, and student groups that could not find ac-
commodations in the old church. It was also necessary to build an
inexpensive hut at the rear of the church to take care of the so-
cial and devotional excercises of the student class until the new
building could be completed.
In anticipation of the need of an adequate parsonage, a build-
ing committee consisting of E. W. Knight, chairman, R. L.
Strowd, L. R. Wilson, Mrs. M. H. Stacy, Mrs. Moody Durham,
Mrs. H. W Odum, and Dr. E. A. Abernethy had been appointed
in late 1921, and the board of trustees had been authorized to
mortgage its properties up to $10,000 for that purpose. Upon
the authorization of the Joint Commission, the local church as-
sumed all responsibility for the erection of the parsonage as a
part of its contribution to the building program. It selected J. L.
Orr, of Atlanta, as architect on March 1, 1922, and on May 12,
authorized the employment of Brodie Thompson, a local contrac-
tor, to supervise the building which was completed at a cost of
$17,358.11, plus $1,020.30 for interest and insurance, in time for
use in late October. The hut for the use of the student class, in-
cluding a large classroom and kitchen, was authorized by the
Joint Commission in 1924 and was quickly erected and placed
in use at a cost of $1,335.15.
The development of plans for the new church, including the
main building, the connecting unit, and the educational building
to be erected at a later date, was placed in the hands of a subcom-
mittee of the Joint Commission of which Dr. Patten was chair-
man. After careful consideration, the committee selected James
Gamble Rogers, of New York, as architect, and in accord with
an agreement with the University, decided that the building
should be colonial in style in harmony with the architectural
pattern of the University. Rogers had recently designed the
beautiful Harkness Quadrangle of Yale University and was the
consulting architect of that institution. He was thoroughly fa-
miliar with the notable colonial churches of New England and
the South, and he assured the committee that it was his intention
to make the building as truly a distinctive example of the Colon-
ial style as the Harkness Quadrangle was of the Gothic.
Solicitation of funds was begun by Dr. Patten in 1923 and was
continued until the building was completed. During the summer
of 1924, when he was absent much of the time, the services of
the church were carried on by the laymen. The hut for the stu-
dent class was completed late in 1924 largely by students and
members of the congregation, and on December 6, 1924, when a
considerable part of the funds from the various boards, friends,
and alumni had been secured, the contract for the church build-
ing was awarded to Jewel and Riddle, of Sanford, for $156,550,
and the heating contract to the Durham Heating Company for
$14,500. The contract for lighting was let later to the Durham
Electric Company for $3,740. The contract for pews was also
awarded later to the Huntington Seating Company, many of the
one thousand seatings being paid for by individual members of
the local church, and by individuals, Bible classes, and other
church organizations within the state. The cost of the carpeting,
altar rail cushions, and rails and draperies for the choir was met
by the women's societies of the church. The communion tables
and chairs were gifts from Mrs. J. B. Martin, wife of a former
pastor of the church, and the pulpit chairs were given by Clair-
borne Carr in memory of his father, General Julian S. Carr, and
by the Huntington Seating Company.
Ground was broken on January 6, 1925, with L. R. Wilson,
chairman of the board of stewards, Dr. Patten, Mrs. A. S. Bar-
bee, and other members of the congregation participating.
Work on the building was pushed steadily and the corner-
stone was laid on Tuesday, April 28, 1925, with the following
order of service and participants : Hymn 658 ; Prayer, the Rev-
erend M. Bradshaw, Presiding Elder of the Durham District;
Scripture Reading, the Reverend J. H. Barnhardt; Representa-
tive of the Joint Commission, the Reverend M. T. Plyler; Archi-
tect firm, James Gamble Rogers ; University of North Carolina,
Dean J. F. Royster ; Student body, University of North Carolina,
President J. B. Fordham; Laymen, Judge J. Crawford Biggs;
Boards of Church Extension, the Reverend Euclid McWhorter;
Boards of Missions, J. F. Shinn; Chapel Hill Church, Dr. L. R.
Wilson; Setting the Cornerstone, the Reverend M. Bradshaw;
Benediction, the Reverend R. M. Courtney.
The building was completed and accepted from the contrac-
tors on April 12, 1926, everything being in readiness for use ex-
cept the pews, seats from the old building having to be used when
the church was host to the District Conference, May 27 and 28,
and for almost a year thereafter.
At the meeting of the Conferences in 1926, the Joint Commis-
sion reported to the Conferences that it had practically complet-
ed the task of building, and in 1927 it reported further that the
total cost of the lots acquired, the temporary hut, and the church
was $230,964.95. Of this amount $162,317.14 had been received
in cash from the church boards and alumni of the University and
friends; $51,400 from the proceeds of loans from the Jefferson
Standard Life Insurance Company and others; and $17,247.81
was in the form of unpaid accounts. In 1928, it was futher re-
ported that the final secured and unsecured indebtdness had in-
creased from $68,647.81 to $72,318.18.
To satisfy some of this unsecured indebtedness, the loan of
$35,000 secured in 1926 from the Jefferson Standard Life Insur-
ance Company was increased in 1928 to $50,000 and the local
church assumed an additional $10,000 of the indebtedness,
leaving $62,381.81 to be paid jointly by the two Conferences, an
undertaking which, because of the onset of the depression in the
late 1920's and the failure and closure of many banks in the state
in the early 1930's, was not accomplished until early in 1935. In
the interval, in spite of the depression, sharply reduced incomes,
and the inability of many churches to meet their budgets, inter-
est charges and some reduction of the principal were effected
through the efforts of the Joint Commission, the various boards
and presiding elders of the Conference, and a special joint com-
mittee of laymen appointed in 1929 to liquidate the debt. The
total contribution of the Chapel Hill Church for the parsonage,
the church, pews, and other furnishings, was $34,100.00.
Just prior to Christmas, 1934, the Reverend M. T. Plyler,
Chairman of the Joint Commission, joyously reported that he
had received a check for $50,000 from an anonymous donor, later
revealed to be the late James A. Gray, of Winston-Salem, a gra-
duate of the University in 1908 and a regular attendant of the
University church and Sunday school during his college career,
with which to cancel the mortgage of the Jefferson Standard
Life Insurance Company, and that the boards of the Conferences
would immediately pay off the remaining indebtedness.
The indebtedness having been fully met, the building was de-
dicated on Sunday, April 7, 1935, during the pastorate of the
Reverend W. A. Jenkins. Dean Robert B. House of the Univer-
sity conducted the ceremony of presentation in behalf of the of-
ficial board of the Chapel Hill Church. The Reverend Walter
Patten, of Fayetteville, offered the introductory prayer . The
Reverend M. T. Plyler read the Scripture lesson. The dedicatory
sermon was preached by Bishop Paul B. Kern, and the final
prayer was offered by C. Exell Rozzelle, of Lenior, who had been
pastor for the four years 1927-1931. Other former pastors and
presiding elders were present upon special invitation, and the
occasion was one which Methodists throughout the state general-
ly attended, or noted with special pleasure.
Three incidents connected with the building program may be
mentioned to indicate some of the human aspects of the under-
taking that consumed the thought, energy, and patience of the
individuals who were involved in carrying it out.
Whether the church should have a steeple or not was a ques-
tion that was hotly debated. Dr. J. G. deRoulhac Hamilton gives
this version of the controversy. He says the decision finally had
to be made by Walter Patten, Clyde Eubanks, and L. R. Wilson.
Patten was for a steeple for architectural, idealistic, and inspira-
tional considerations. Eubanks was against it because it would
cost $10,000 to build it and $500 every time it had to be painted.
Wilson thought a moment, picturing in his mind's eye the steeples
of the then-recently erected Presbyterian and Episcopal church-
es and the steepleless Baptist church. And out of a spirit of sheer
denominational rivalry cast the deciding vote for a steeple that
would lay the other steeples in the shade !
The difficulties that attended the payment of the indebted-
ness of $72,000 and that confronted North Carolina Methodism
in 1928 when the depression was drying up every dollar that
otherwise might have been available were very real. Bishop
Edwin Mouzon had called the twenty-three presiding elders of
the two Conferences and the members of the Joint Commission
to Chapel Hill in June to see what could be done about meeting
the situation. The presiding elders were on the spot since they
were called on to secure funds from the churches in their dis-
tricts for the payment of interest and the reduction of the debt.
Four of them were particularly irked at the predicament in
which they found themselves, and one of them reported that he
had been hearing some remarkable stories about the extrava-
gance of the local congregation that had caused the big debt. He
had heard, he said, that the new parsonage cost $60,000, and
that it contained a private elevator for the convenience of the
local pastor. That, he thought, was an outrage. The facts were
that the parsonage cost $17,358.11, and a very inexpensive chute
had been provided in the linen closet on the second floor to the
laundry in the basement. When these and other rumors had
been properly punctured, Bishop Mouzon remarked, with obvious
disapproval of the amount of attention that had been given to
hearsay, that he had noted that people sometimes heard things
that they had told to others! He also commented that it was
the office of the presiding elder to present an example of courage-
ous leadership out in the sticks rather than for him to get his
point of view from the man at the forks of the creek. The
statement brought the group back to the consideration of the
business in hand, with the result that the late Dr. E. W. Knight
remarked to one of his colleagues as the meeting adjourned that
he had seen a good many able bishops, but he had never seen
one who could tell the brethren off better than Bishop Mouzon.
A third incident had to do with the adoption of the Chapel
Hill Church budget for the year 1927 which called for an increase
of ten per cent across the board. From 1921 to 1927 the board
of stewards had been increasing the budget every year, the con-
gregation of from 185 to 305 had been contributing heavily to the
building program, and the women's societies were straining
their finances to provide carpets, draperies, and other furnish-
ings for both the parsonage and the church, and here was a new
demand. The meeting of the board of stewards at which the
new budget was to be presented for adoption fell on the night
of November 11, 1927, the day on which the Chapel Hill Realty
and Insurance Company under its then-management failed.
"Busted" was the word used in describing its condition. Milton
E. Hogan, cashier of the Bank of Chapel Hill, and chairman of
the finance committee of the stewards, submitted the proposed
budget with all items marked up ten per cent. But he did not
move its adoption. Chairman Wilson asked him if he had not
forgotten to move its adoption? Hogan replied that he had not
forgotten anything, and in turn he asked Wilson if he had heard
of the failure ; if he had lost any money as a result of it. Wilson
answered that he had heard of the "bust," but that he had not
lost any money in it. He said that the company had been so slow
in "busting" that he had taken out the stock he had had in it
three years before, had sold it, and had bought stock in the
People's Bank of Chapel Hill, which had "busted" a year later,
and that he had gotten over his "bust." When the chuckle of
the board ended, Hogan moved the adoption of the budget and
the board, which had not allowed its optimism and hope for the
future to be overcome by present difficulties, passed the motion
in its stride.
Thus, twenty years after Dr. Patten first emphasized the
need of additional facilities for the Sunday school, the building,
in spite of all the difficulties of erecting and paying for it in the
depth of the depression, was dedicated to the fulfilling of its
high mission. With its beautiful spire soaring 210 feet aloft
in the Chapel Hill sky, and the simplicity and loveliness of its
sanctuary, altar, pulpit, and choir loft, it stands as a monument
to the vision and untiring effort of Walter Patten, Euclid Mc-
Whorter, and M. T. Plyler, who conceived and brought it to
completion; it is also an instrument for the quickening of the
spiritual life of untold students, and as such is a memorial to
the Joint Commission, the various church boards, the official
board and members of the Chapel Hill congregation, and to the
hundreds of contributors whose love and devotion made it pos-
Matters relating to the properties of the church have con-
tinued to receive special consideration. In 1936, during the pas-
torate of the Reverend A. P. Brantley, the church was given
anonymously a three manual Moller pipe organ, the donors be-
ing revealed later as Messrs. Bowman and Gordon Gray, grad-
uates of the University in 1929 and 1930, respectively. In the
same year, one hundred feet of the front of the parsonage lot
on Franklin Street was sold for commercial purposes, the par-
sonage being moved to the rear to face on Rosemary Street. The
proceeds from this sale were used to reduce the debt against
the property, and later the parsonage at this location was sold
and a smaller house was secured as a parsonage at 308 Pittsboro
After the completion of the new building in 1926, the local
church was able to provide for only a few pressing repairs that
demanded attention. The physical condition of the building,
consequently, deteriorated considerably, and in 1945 was made
a special order of business by the board of stewards and the
pastor, the Reverend Henry G. Ruark. A committee to deter-
mine the nature of repairs required was appointed, with Pro-
fessor Guy B. Phillips as chairman, which submitted a report on
September 5, 1945, to the Interconference Commission on Stu-
dent Religious Work of North Carolina, the official body of the
two Conferences which was concerned with the student work
program at Chapel Hill. In the report made to the Interconfer-
ence Commission it was estimated that the necessary repairs
would cost $30,893.00 and it was recommended that the cost be
prorated 33 per cent to the Chapel Hill Church, 27 per cent to
the North Carolina Conference, and 40 per cent to the Western
North Carolina Conference. It was also recommended that the
Interconference Commission request an appropriation from the
Commission on World Service and Finance for 1945-1946 of
$750 from the North Carolina Conference and $1,000 from the
Western North Carolina Conference for the annual maintenance
of the Chapel Hill plant. The report, with recommendations,
was adopted, and in due course measures were taken to carry the
recommendations into effect. Gurney P. Hood, President of the
Commission of World Service and Finance of the Conferences
was especially effective in securing this action. In April, 194,6,
the building committee of the board of stewards, with C. E.
Hornaday as chairman, was authorized to undertake the work,
and on March 26, 1948, an interim report was submitted showing
that $10,194.69 had been received from the local church, and
$8,341.00 and $12,357.00, respectively, from the North Carolina
and Western North Carolina Conferences, and that $28,236.06
had been spent to that date on major repairs to the building
and grounds. On February 12, 1949, the committee reported that
the remainder had been spent for additional repairs, with a
balance of $496.36 made available to the local church, which,
when added to funds from the Women's Society and the board of
stewards, provided for interior decoration amounting to $1,-
The old church building was not torn down when the new one
was erected but has been used in various ways as an auxiliary
facility. From time to time it has been put in repair, and it
has served the community in a number of admirable ways. Dur-
ing World War II it was used as a social center for men in the
armed services. More recently it has been operated as the
Recreation Center which has featured the direction of the social
activities of the teen-age girls and boys of the Chapel Hill
schools. It has also been used as the headquarters for the troop
of Boy Scouts and for other Sunday school and church purposes.
The latest addition to the church has been the installation in
1953, under the direction of Roy Armstrong, chairman of the
music committee, the Reverend W. M. Howard, pastor, and Wil-
liam S. Stewart, chairman of the board of stewards, of an ex-
cellent three manual Standaart organ at a cost of $15,500. The
parsonage, so frequently mortgaged in the past for indebted-
ness which it had not incurred, has again been limited in its
freedom after a brief respite, while the congregation is moved
by the beauty of the performance of this splendid instrument.
The church has also been the recipient of several donations
which have added to the convenience and impressiveness of the
sanctuary. These have been the calendar panels at the left and
right of the chancel, presented by Mrs. Ella Rozzelle; the com-
munion service, given by Dr. and Mrs. 0. David Garvin ; and six
brass collection plates, a gift from Miss Josephine Pritchard.
The large bulletin board on the front lawn is a memorial pre-
sented by Dr. and Mrs. Eric A. Abernethy in memory of their
son, Eric A. Abernethy, Jr.
WOMEN'S WORK 1
The Woman's Missionary Society of the North Carolina Con-
ference, Methodist Episcopal Church, South, was organized
in Charlotte on December 1, 1878, and the Bright Jewels —
the children's division of this Society — was organized in 1882.
Until May, 1890, when the North Carolina Conference was di-
vided by the General Conference, all missionary work among
Methodist women in North Carolina was under one governing
body. In 1898 the Woman's Home Mission Society of the
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, was organized, but it was
not until 1902 that this Society effected an organization in
North Carolina. From 1902 until 1913 there were two separate
women's missionary societies; one, the "Woman's Foreign Mis-
sionary Society" and the other, the "Woman's Home Mission
Society." In 1913 these two groups combined and again took
their original name, that of "The Woman's Missionary Society."
In May of 1939 the union of the northern and southern branches
of Methodism in the United States was consummated and, fol-
lowing this, another reorganization occurred in the woman's
society. In 1940 there were two Women's Conferences; one to
complete the business of the old Missionary Society and the
other to begin the work of the newly organized group. In
September, 1940, at Greenville, North Carolina, the "Woman's
1 It would be erroneous to claim that this account of organized activities
among the Methodist women of Chapel Hill is either just, complete, or
wholly accurate. Many of the records have been lost. Since the mem-
bership of this church is not as stable as is found in the average com-
munity, several women who worked as leaders in the church have since
moved from Chapel Hill, and others have died. Some help in writing this
account of women's work has been given by ladies who were members of this
church prior to the erection of the third church building, but in many
instances their memories are too vague to be stated as fact.
This sketch of the over-all activities of these important church groups
is based upon the few existing records and upon interviews with church
Society of Christian Service" of the North Carolina Conference
came into being.
The records do not tell when a Woman's Missionary Society
was first formed in the Chapel Hill Church. The Annual Report
of the North Carolina Woman's Missionary Conference of 1887
stated that Mrs. L. W. Norwood was president of the Chapel Hill
Society and that this Society of twenty-three members paid to
the Conference Treasurer for the year 1886 the sum of $16.29.
This was eight years after the organization of the Woman's
Missionary Society in the Conference, and since this church was
thirty-three years old at the time, it is surmised that a Society
had been organized a few years prior to 1886.
At this time plans had been formulated for erecting a second
building for the Chapel Hill Methodist Church, and the ladies
of the church became interested in raising funds to aid in this
building program. Thus, an organization known as the "Auxi-
liary Committee of Ladies," later to become the "Ladies' Aid
Society," was formed. This group concentrated its efforts on
local activities dealing with the church and parsonage. The
"Ladies' Aid Society" functioned in the Chapel Hill Church
until 1934 and contributed greatly to the building of two churches
and three parsonages.
The membership of the Woman's Missionary Society dropped
from twenty-three members in 1886 to ten members in 1890.
After the organization of the Auxiliary Committee of Ladies, the
Missionary Society concentrated on Foreign Missions and left
all the local work to the other group. The great interest in
the new church and new parsonage may account for a lag of
interest in the Missionary Society. In 1893 Mrs. E. C. Harring-
ton became president of the Society. She served for two years
when because of illness she had to resign, and the vice-president,
Miss Harriotte Gillespie Cole, became president. Mrs. Har-
rington had formerly organized a "Juvenile Missionary Soc-
iety," and in October of 1895 this group became the "Bright
Jewel Society" which was the children's division of the Woman's
Missionary Society. Mrs. Mary Fleming Black, wife of the pre-
siding elder of the Raleigh District, had organized the first group
of Bright Jewels in the summer of 1882. The "Bright Jewel
Society" did not have a continuous existence in the local church
because of the inability to secure leaders, but it did exist inter-
mittently from 1895 until about 1930. Miss Cole introduced
during her presidency a plan of using mite boxes in the Mission-
ary Society, the funds from which were used for special needs
not anticipated at the beginning of the year's work. This plan
received such wide attention that Miss Cole was asked to report
its work at the annual Missionary Conference of 1896. She
also reported to this Conference that the Chapel Hill Missionary
Society had given life memberships to three Society presidents
and three pastors. The membership of the Missionary Society
numbered twenty in 1896 ; the membership had not increased in
1898, when Mrs. E. C. Harrington again became president, but
the amount paid to the Conference Treasurer had almost doubled.
In 1898 when the Missionary Society in the general church
was broken into the two societies — the Woman's Foreign Mis-
sionary Society and the Woman's Home Mission Society — the
Chapel Hill Society became the Woman's Foreign Missionary
Society. There was never an organization of the Home Mission
Society in this church but the Ladies' Aid Society, which had
been functioning for some years, did much of the work which
the Home Mission group might have undertaken. However, the
Treasurers' reports show that the money sent to the Woman's
Foreign Missionary Society Conference were designated as so
much for foreign missions and so much for home missions. All
local work was done by the Ladies' Aid, which was made up
chiefly of women who were members of both societies.
Mrs. A. S. Barbee became president of the Woman's Foreign
Missionary Society in 1899 and served for eleven years. In
1907 the Society had nineteen members and contributed $48.08 to
the Conference Treasurer. The sale of the old parsonage prop-
erty and the purchase of the new in 1908 gave rise to so much
interest among the ladies of the church that there was formed
a second Ladies' Aid Society to aid in securing furnishings for
the parsonage. "At that time there was one Foreign Mission-
ary Society, two Juvenile Missionary Societies (Bright Jewels),
one Epworth League, and two Ladies' Aid Societies." In 1910
the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society had twenty-four mem-
bers, its largest membership to that date. The following year
Mrs. W. H. Roades succeeded Mrs. Barbee as president and
served ably for two years. In 1913 Mrs. George Bearden, the
wife of the pastor, became president of the Society. Some diffi-
culty arose which caused dissension among various church mem-
bers and the membership of the Society dropped to seventeen.
The Reverend Walter Patten became pastor of this church for his
first term of service in 1913; he found the Woman's Foreign
Missionary Society and the Bright Jewels in a state of near
collapse. He persuaded Mrs. M. H. Stacy, who had recently
come to Chapel Hill, to take over the presidency of the Woman's
Foreign Missionary Society. In order to renew interest in
missionary work, the Reverend Mr. Patten conducted a Mission
Study Class, and he and Mrs. Stacy organized a Junior Epworth
League. To prevent overlapping of the missionary work among
the children, it was decided that the Bright Jewels should do the
missionary work of the Junior League. During this period the
Woman's Foreign Missionary Society again became the Woman's
Missionary Society. In the reorganization, the Missionary So-
ciety was broken down into departments with superintendents
of the various divisions.
Mrs. Stacy remained president of the Woman's Missionary
Society for eight consecutive years. During this time many
contributions were made by these ladies to the spiritual wel-
fare of the church. More emphasis was placed upon study
classes, and for many of the studies outside speakers were se-
cured. In 1916 the Woman's Missionary Society cooperated with
other missionary societies in the community and put on a mis-
sionary play, "The Cross Goes Westward." The Week of Prayer
was observed each year and prayer groups were organized for
"shut-ins." In 1915 the ladies made a complete outfit of clothing
for one of the girls at the Methodist Orphanage ; they continued
this project for several years thereafter. At the regular meet-
ings of the Society topics from the Missionary Voice were
studied. Growth in membership was slow, but by the end of
Mrs. Stacy's presidency the Woman's Missionary Society had
regained the numbers lost in 1913, and the Bright Jewels had
more than doubled in membership. In 1913, the Society con-
tributed only $45.00 to the Conference Treasurer; in 1921, the
same number of members contributed $107.70. In 1922 Mrs.
A. H. Paulsen became president of the Missionary Society, and
Mrs. Stacy took over the superintendency of the children's divi-
sion, which involved leadership of the Bright Jewels.
Mrs. Paulsen's interest centered upon the need for a young
woman's auxiliary, and in February of 1922 this group became a
part of the Missionary Society. Besides holding regular meet-
ings, these young women conducted a tea room once each week
in order to raise money for the new church fund. The old A. S.
Barbee store which stood on property now owned by the church
had been made available to the Ladies' Aid Society for this
purpose. This group, under the direction of Mrs. John Lear,
Mrs. W. P. Jordan, Mrs. Moody Durham, Mrs. H. M. Wagstaff,
and others worked untiringly in preparing and serving meals to
raise money with which to furnish the new church. In Novem-
ber of 1923 Mrs. Paulsen reported that the Missionary Society
had a membership of thirty-five, and had expended $627.75 dur-
ing the year.
In 1924 the Woman's Missionary Society elected Mrs. M. H.
Stacy as its president for a second time, and Mrs. F. P. Brooks
became president of the Young Woman's Auxiliary. Mrs. Stacy
resigned before the end of the year and Mrs. Harry Comer com-
pleted her term of office. Interest continued in Mission Study
classes, but the women's organizations of the church concen-
trated their efforts upon local church activities. After the
laying of the cornerstone of the new church on April 28, 1925,
there was increased activity on the part of the ladies to help
raise the funds needed in this great building enterprise. Mrs.
Walter Patten came in as president of the Woman's Missionary
Society in 1925 and at the fourth Quarterly Conference she
reported that "the local work among the ladies is carried on in
four circles which meet separately on the third Monday in each
month. . . . Through these circles we have raised $400, making
$1000 paid by the Woman's Missionary Society toward the par-
sonage fund in the last three years." Mrs. Patten further re-
ported that two superintendents supervised the missionary work
among the children and young women. In 1926 there were thirty
members of the adult society, thirty-five members of the Young
Women's Auxiliary, and twelve children in the Bright Jewels.
Miss Mabel Thompson (now Mrs. V. A. Hill) had taken over the
leadership of the Bright Jewels in 1923 and continued as leader
for about seven years.
Mrs. Patten's report of October 31, 1925, contains the first
mention of circles in the Society. From interviews with some
of the ladies of the church who were members of the Society at
that time, it is surmised that the Society had been divided into
circles in 1923 or 1924. The circles were the Laura Mangum,
Clyde Eubanks, Walter Patten, and the Young- Women's Auxili-
Mrs. R. B. House followed Mrs. Patten as president of the
Society and held this office for one year. Mrs. House reported
to the Quarterly Conference in 1928 that "The Woman's Mis-
sionary Society has forty-one members and meets together once
a month. . . . The Society is organized into circles. Occasionally
all three circles join in contributing money for some special proj-
ect, such as the care of an orphan. In addition, each circle cares
for special objects of its own. In the spring we organized a mis-
sion study class. In addition to the regular Bible Study a number
of the members enrolled in the School of Religion and completed
a course of study in the 'History of Christianity in the Apostolic
Under the auspices of the Society a reception was given
to the Methodist freshmen of the University in September, 1928.
The Ladies' Aid Society continued to function, but its work was
considered as the department of local work of the Missionary
Society. The reports of the Society during the twenties often
named Mrs. John Lear, Mrs. W. P. Jordan, Mrs. Harry Comer,
Mrs. E. W. Knight, Mrs. H. M. Wagstaff, Mrs. F. Bowman,
Mrs. A. H. Paulsen, Mrs. M. H. Stacy, Mrs. Wallace Patterson,
Mrs. William Neal, and Mrs. Moody Durham as worthy of recog-
nition for the interest, time, and energy which they devoted to
preparing and serving meals in order to help equip the new
church and furnish the new parsonage.
During the one year which Mrs. F. P. Brooks served as
president of the Society and the two years under the leadership
of Mrs. H. F. Munch there was continued growth in membership
and in expanded activities. In November, 1930, Mrs. Munch
reported that there were fifty members of the Society and that
$617.08 had been raised during the year from dues and local
projects. It was during this period that the group of young
women who had been meeting at night became the "Minnie
Wilson Circle" honoring Mrs. N. H. D. Wilson who had returned
to Chapel Hill to live. Two events of real significance took
place under the leadership of Mrs. J. S. Henninger. There had
been a slight drop in membership in 1930 because some of the
circles had raised their dues so high that several ladies felt
that they were financially unable to belong to the Society. Mrs.
Henninger recognized the fact that something should be done
to rectify this weakness and introduced a plan of voluntary
pledges by the members. This plan was put into operation
at once and continues to be the policy of the local Society today.
The second event called for the united efforts of all the women
in the Missionary Society. On May 20, 1931, the Durham Dis-
trict Meeting was held in this church. Some three hundred ladies
attended an inspiring all-day meeting and the women of this
Society served lunch to this large gathering. The following year
the annual meeting of the Women's Missionary Conference was
held in Durham and many members of the local Society were
able to attend. For the year 1932-1933, a Program Committee,
under the chairmanship of Mrs. Munch, worked out worship pro-
grams and study programs for each of the twelve general meet-
ings of the year. This is the first record of the Society planning
programs in advance to give continuity to missionary study. The
"Week of Prayer" was observed and a substantial increase in the
Week of Prayer offering was noted. For the year 1932, $765.74
was contributed to the Society Treasury.
Mrs. J. A. Warren served as president of the Woman's Mis-
sionary Society for three years, 1933-1935. These were the
years of the greatest increase in membership in the history of
the Society. The membership increased from forty-three mem-
bers in 1932 to ninety-eight in 1937. Mrs. Warren and her
executive board set up a budget based on the amount pledged,
the amount expected, and the needs of the Society. Speaking
to the first general meeting in 1934, Mrs. Warren said: "Our
main idea as an organization is not making money. We have a
good program of study ; we need to study more. We have some-
one to help guide our prayer life. We want to grow larger
spiritually. We want to make these our highest aims. At the
same time we want to recognize the obligations the women have
assumed in the past and set ourselves to look forward with an eye
to greater accomplishments." During Mrs. Warren's term of
office a change took place in the composition of circles. Prior
to this a person joined the circle of her choice and in some in-
stances the membership of a particular circle was limited to a
number of intimate friends. The new plan called for the drawing
of names for circle membership. This change caused discussion,
dissension, and in some instances withdrawal, but it has been in
operation ever since. At Christmas of 1935 a pageant, "The
Other Wise Man," was given as a cooperative venture among the
women's societies of the various denominations in Chapel Hill.
Mrs. R. B. Sharpe, Mrs. E. E. Peacock, and Mrs. Karl Fussier
represented the Methodist ladies in this production. During
Mrs. Warren's presidency of the Society the following areas
of work were stressed : prayer, Bible and mission study, Christ-
ian social relations, promotion of children's work, and financial
Mrs. W. H. Jones was president of the Society in 1936 and
1937. In addition to the superintendents of the division al-
ready provided for, Mrs. Jones appointed the following standing
committees: program, membership, finance, arrangements, and
social. The ninety-five members of the Society were divided
into five circles. During the year $291 was contributed to
the Conference Treasurer, and $681 was spent in local work.
During the next two years Mrs. W. D. Morrison was leader of
the Society. The regular work of the organization was carried
on successfully. Professor Rupert B. Vance conducted an ex-
cellent mission study on "Rebuilding Rural America." The
ladies cooperated with the pastor in giving two Aldersgate Sup-
pers, and the Week of Prayer was observed. The women con-
tinued their interest in the parsonage and supervised and paid
for some needed renovations. Perhaps the highlight of Mrs.
Morrison's presidency was the observance of the sixtieth anni-
versary of the woman's missionary work. Mrs. Karl Fussier
wrote and directed a skit which effectively told of the various
missionary programs which the Woman's Missionary Society had
made possible. Mrs. Fussier, Mrs. W. M. Pugh, Mrs. Frank
Strowd, Mrs. A. M. Jordan, and Mrs J. A. Warren participated
in this program.
As previously stated, the Woman's Missionary Society of
the North Carolina Conference became the Woman's Society of
Christian Service in September, 1940. Mrs. E. E. Peacock was
the first president of the local organization. Other officers of
the new Society were: vice-president, Mrs. Harry Kear; cor-
responding secretary, Mrs. J. S. Henninger; recording secre-
tary, Mrs. John Holshauser; treasurer, Mrs. W. P. Jordan;
secretary of young people's groups, Miss Alice Gattis ; secretary
of children's work, Mrs. J. S. Henninger; superintendent of
study, Mrs. Ray Wolf; superintendent of publicity, Mrs. John
W. Lasley; superintendent of World Outlook, Mrs. M. H. Stacy;
superintendent of Christian social relations, Mrs. W. M. Curtis;
superintendent of supplies, Mrs. J. Temple Gobbel; chairman of
spiritual life group, Mrs. Karl Fussier ; and secretary of student
work, Mrs. Ray Funderburk. Mrs. William Neal replaced Mrs.
Funderburk soon after the election of officers. A fellowship
supper was given in February to which all the women of the
church were invited, and by June of that year the membership
in the Society had increased to 128. More emphasis was placed
upon the need for members to read the Society literature and by
1941 there were twenty-two subscribers to The World Outlook.
The spiritual life group was active and the Society held the three
required study classes during each year.
Mrs. Fletcher M. Green was president of the Society in 1942
and 1943. The membership remained about the same, but the
budget and funds contributed to the Conference Treasurer in-
creased each year. The Society met the standards of efficiency
as set forth by the Board of Missions, and in addition made two
important contributions to the community. Each Sunday night
these ladies served supper to the Methodist student group. Mrs.
Wallace Patterson had assumed the chairmanship of local acti-
vities and much of this work fell to her and her committee. Un-
der Mrs. Green's presidency, the Society cooperated with other
local churches and took its turn in furnishing hostesses for the
United Service Organization. The Old Methodist Church Build-
ing, now used as a Recreation Center, served as Headquarters
for the USO. Members of the Society made and served punch,
cookies, and sandwiches to the service men who were present. At
Thanksgiving and at Christmas special gifts of food and clothing
were sent to needy families in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro com-
munity in addition to special gifts for the Methodist Orphanage.
The president also entertained in her home a large group of
soldiers from Camp Butner.
Mrs. Karl Fussier was president of the Society in 1944 and
1945. During these years the ladies continued their work with
the students and with the USO. In order that all the circles
of the Society might attend some of the general meetings,
Mrs. Fussier adopted the plan of having two supper meetings
during the year. These were well attended and excellent pro-
grams were presented. The Society invited the ladies from the
Carrboro and Orange Church Societies to join in a Mission
Study Class for "jurisdictional" credit. The cooperative class
was so successful that this plan has been followed ever since.
The regular work of the Society was carried on faithfully, and
in addition the ladies continued their interest in the parsonage
and took on an added obligation, that of help to furnish the
Chapel. Soon thereafter the Young Women's Circle agreed to
give regular attention to the care of the Chapel. In 1945 it was
reported that sixty pre-flight cadets had been entertained in the
homes of the Society members on Easter Sunday. Another evi-
dence of the interest of this organization in young people was
shown by its contribution toward the expense of four students
to the Methodist Student Conference in Urbana, Illinois.
Mrs. R. B. Sharpe was president of the Society from 1946
through 1948. The church was badly in need of repairs so again
the ladies put their shoulders to the wheel and made substantial
contributions to the Church Repair Fund. It was decided to put
on a Christmas Bazaar in which only hand-made articles and
home-cooked food were to be sold. Mrs. Wallace Patterson
served as Bazaar Chairman and this venture was so successful
that a Christmas Bazaar has been held each year since 1946.
The ladies also furnished the apartment for the student pastor
and his wife, and started a long-range program of refurnishing
and stocking the church kitchen and pantry. During these years
there were a large number of the Methodist veterans' wives in
our church, and under the joint leadership of Mrs. Henry Ruark,
the pastor's wife, and Mrs. Robert Nelson, the student pastor's
wife, two new night circles were formed. Mrs. Sharpe and Mrs.
J. A. Warren assisted in the organization of these circles. These
young women were entertained often in the homes of members
of the Society. In 1949 Mrs. Nelson left Chapel Hill and the
two night groups combined to form the "Patricia Nelson Circle"
in honor of one of its organizers and leaders. Collections of
clothing for destitute European families had been made for
some years and this was continued and increased. Under the
leadership of Mrs. John Lasley the spiritual life group held
regular meetings and gave special emphasis to the '"Week of
Prayer." Excellent study classes were conducted by Mrs. Frank
Hanft. The Society cooperated with the Wesley Foundation in
entertaining freshmen University students and in affording
financial assistance to delegates for their various conferences.
Increased contributions to missions were made through the pre-
sentation of Life Memberships to babies, children, and adults.
Under the chairmanship of Mrs. Earl Slocum a special bazaar
was held. It raised funds necessary for all of these projects.
Throughout Mrs. Sharpe's presidency inspiring programs were
worked out under the direction of Mrs. Russell Grumman. In
1948, Mrs. W. P. Jordan, who had been treasurer of the Woman's
Society since 1935 asked to be relieved of this work, and Mrs.
J. B. Linker took over this important position. She held this
office for four years. Mrs. Jordan's contribution to the work of
the Society had been great, and appreciation of this was ex-
pressed by the members of the Society.
Mrs. J. S. Henninger served as president of the Society for
a second time for the year 194,8-1949. Mrs. Roy Armstrong
accepted the chairmanship of the bazaar and Mrs. V. J. Cowing
took over the local work. With the funds from another success-
ful bazaar, the ladies were able to buy needed supplies for the
kitchen and dining room, to assist in painting the church, and
to purchase permanent equipment for the parsonage. A juris-
dictional study class was conducted by Mrs. Guy Johnson. Three
of the younger women began to take an active interest in the
work of the Society and made great contributions to its work.
These were Mrs. J. E. Wadsworth, Mrs. William Aycock, and
Mrs. Donald Hayman. Mrs. Wadsworth and Mrs. Hayman con-
tinue to hold key positions in the Society.
Mrs. Frank Hanft was elected president of the Society for
the years 1949-1951. In a most efficient manner Mrs. Hanft set
up a program for these two years and directed it toward
completion. In the May meeting of 1949, Mrs. Stacy, on behalf
of the Laura Mangum Circle, reported a fund which had been
started as a $75.00 loan to a college girl and which had been
built up with interest until it amounted to $91.85. It was
voted that a committee work out details for a permanent Laura
Mangum Scholarship Fund to be administered through the office
of the University Director of Loans. This Fund has since been
increased. Another bazaar was conducted by Mrs. Roy Arm-
strong, Mrs. Grady Pritchard, and Mrs. John Umstead ; and for
the second year, Mrs. Karl Williams was bazaar chairman. By
1950-1951 the budget of the Society was $1,307.50, and there were
approximately one hundred and fifty members of the Society.
Life memberships were again stressed as was mission study
work. Under the direction of Mrs. W. W. Pierson, jurisdictional
study classes were conducted, one of which was a cooperative
class with the ladies of the Presbyterian, Baptist, Episcopal, and
Lutheran churches. In order that the young women could attend
the auxiliary meetings and also the church services, the Patricia
Nelson Circle established a nursery which was held in the church
at specified times. Assistance was given to the Wesley Founda-
tion whenever needed, and the women took a special interest
in the foreign students in the University. In 1950, the Society
provided $50.00 by which a foreign student was enabled to attend
the Urbana Conference. As chairman of the department of
Christian social relations, Mrs. Henninger rendered very im-
portant service. New choir robes were made, sufficient china
purchased to feed one hundred and fifty persons, the pantry was
improved, and many other renovations were made. Mrs. J. A.
Warren planned excellent programs for the general meetings.
Perhaps the most significant meeting was in November, 1950,
when the women celebrated their tenth anniversary with a
birthday party at which time Mrs. Link from the Orange Church
brought a birthday cake with eleven candles. Each candle repre-
sented some phase of the work of the Woman's Society. In
turn, our Society took a birthday cake to the Hillsboro Society.
At the end of the year, Mrs. J. T. Gobbel resigned as secretary
of the Society. Mrs. Gobbel had rendered able service in this
post which she had held during the term of two presidents.
Mrs. Fletcher M. Green began a second term as president of
the Society in June of 1951 and remained president until June
of 1953. During these two years the Society not only maintain-
ed its "Efficiency Standing," but in addition to its regular work
engaged in several special enterprises of significance. Under
the direction of Mrs. Earl Slocum in 1951 and Mrs. Russell
Grumman in 1952, the bazaars were highly successful. From the
money so derived the Society donated chimes to the recently
renovated organ in the church, purchased a handsome rug for the
Ladies' Parlor, bought Venetian blinds for the Ladies' Parlor,
and assisted in purchasing blinds for the Church Sanctuary.
In addition, under the direction of Mrs. Wadsworth, many im-
provements were made in the Sunday school class rooms. As
head of local work, Mrs. Wallace Patterson and her committee
cooperated with the Wesley Foundation and the pastor in serving
students and also in giving Fellowship Suppers. Mrs. R. B.
Sharpe and Mrs. Kinsman conducted splendid study classes
during these two years, and yearly programs were worked out by
Mrs. Pierson and her committee. One of the most interesting
and worth while programs ever given by the missionary group
was arranged in 1952 by Mrs. Russell Grumman, Mrs. J. A. War-
ren, and Mrs. J. E. Wadsworth. The topic was "Trouble Spots
about the World," and foreign students in the University dis-
cussed this topic. Many Life Memberships were given during
these two years, thus increasing our contribution to missions.
Mrs. John W. Lasley continued her fine work as chairman of
spiritual life and planned inspiring programs for the "Week of
Mrs. Earl Slocum was elected president of the Woman's So-
ciety of Christian Service in 1953. She had an able group of
ladies on her executive board. Mrs. William Sloan was chair-
man of the bazaar for 1953 which was one of the most successful
ever held. The ladies made an excellent beginning and the years
1953-1955 promised to be very profitable ones for the Society.
In this brief sketch of women's activities it has been im-
possible to recognize fully and to appraise effectively the work
done by the ladies whose names have been mentioned as leaders,
neither was it possible to mention many ladies who served in
other positions of leadership and in the important day-to-day
jobs which required committee work, or individual service. The
combined efforts of all the women made possible the magnitude
of work which has been described. There are, however, three
persons who deserve special recognition because of the scope of
their work. All three of these were members of this Society for
many years, and two are still active members of the local group.
The three are Mrs. N. H. D. Wilson (deceased), Mrs. Walter
Patten, and Mrs. J. A. Warren — all of whom have been Confer-
ence officers in the Woman's Society. For many years Mrs.
Wilson was superintendent of children's work. It was during
her long term of work that the Bright Jewels flourished. Mrs.
Patten was secretary of the Missionary Conference from 1928-
1938. Mrs. Warren was a member of the Conference Committee
from the organization of the Woman's Society of Christian Ser-
vice in 1940 until 1950, and in March of 1952 was elected Con-
ference Secretary of Christian Social Relations and Local Church
Activities. Chapel Hill Methodist women have been the bene-
ficiaries of the leadership and consecrated service of these ladies.
Presidents of the Woman's Missionary Society
Chapel Hill Methodist Church
Mrs. L. W. Norwood 1886—1887
Mrs. E. C. Harrington 1893—1895
Miss Harriotte Cole 1895—1898
Mrs. E. C. Harrington 1898—1899
Mrs. A. S. Barbee 1899—1911
Mrs. W. H. Roades 1911—1913
Mrs. George Bearden 1913 — 1914
Mrs. M. H. Stacy 1914—1922
Mrs. A. H. Paulsen 1922—1924
Mrs. M. H. Stacy, Mrs. Harry Comer 1924—1925
Mrs. Walter Patten 1925—1927
Mrs. R. B. House 1927—1928
Mrs. F. P. Brooks 1928—1929
Mrs. H. F. Munch 1929—1931
Mrs. J. S. Henninger 1931—1933
Mrs. J. A. Warren 1933—1935
Mrs. W. H. Jones 1936—1937
Mrs. W. D. Morrison 1938—1939
Mrs. E. E. Peacock 1940—1941
Mrs. Fletcher M. Green 1942—1943
Mrs. Karl Fussier 1944 — 1945
Mrs. R. B. Sharpe 1946—1948
Mrs. J. S. Henninger 1948 — 1949
Mrs. Frank Hanft 1949—1951
Mrs. Fletcher M. Green 1951—1953
ACTIVITIES OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
Several notable developments of the twentieth century may
be singled out to indicate the special uses to which the physical
plant of the church has been put. Among these were the estab-
lishment of a School of Religion by the Methodist Church, the
University Young Men's Christian Association, and the other
churches of Chapel Hill; the provision for a student pastor by
the local congregation and the central Church boards ; the organ-
ization of a student board of stewards from which North Caro-
lina Methodism has drawn a number of leading laymen ; the Wes-
ley Foundation ; and the Sunday school program. Other features,
including financial support, the leadership of the pastors, and
the work of outstanding laymen, also should be described.
The School of Religion
One important undertaking in which the Methodist Church
had a leading part in the 1920's was "The School of Religion at
Chapel Hill" as it was known by the act of incorporation in 1926
under the laws of North Carolina. This undertaking, which was
discontinued after a few years, grew out of interest in making
provision for teaching the Bible and religion to young people in
Chapel Hill. The University at that time was not giving courses
in religion as such, although Professor Horace Williams was
offering a course in Ethics and also listing one in the Philosophy
of Religion, and Professor W. S. Bernard was offering a course
in New Testament Greek.
In the early 1920's the University Y. M. C. A. enlisted the min-
isters of the local churches in an effort to make provisions for
courses in religion in the University. The Reverend Walter Pat-
ten of the Methodist Church was among the most active members
of this group and had the sympathetic cooperation of Professor
L. R. Wilson and of Harry F. Comer, the General Secretary of
the Y. M. C. A. The efforts to stimulate interest in teaching
courses in religion were more definitely related to the Methodist
Church and to the University Y. M. C. A. than to the other
churches, although the latter cooperated throughout the move-
ment. A strong standing committee, composed of the minister
and one or two members from each of the churches and the secre-
tary and members of the board of the Y. M. C. A., was formed
to promote interest in the enterprise. Professors L. R. Wilson,
F. P. Venable, Drew Patterson, D. D. Carroll, and others were
energetic lay members of the committee, which worked out the
form of organization, with a constitution and budget, had the
school incorporated, and engaged a full-time teacher, Professor
Mims Thornburgh Workman, a graduate of Henderson-Brown
College, with an M. A. from Emory University and a B. D. from
Southern Methodist University. The incorporators of the school
were the Reverend Eugene Olive, Harry F. Comer, the Reverend
Walter Patten, the Reverend A. S. Lawrence, the Reverend B. J.
Howard, and the Reverend W. D. Moss. The period of existence
of the corporation was limited to thirty years.
The control and management of the finances and property of
the corporation were vested in a board of twenty trustees, twelve
of whom were to be elected by the members of the corporation
and eight by the board of trustees. The act of incorporation bore
the date of May 12, 1926.
The course of study in the School was announced for the fall
quarter of 1926-1927, to be conducted in the Methodist Church,
as follows : Religion 1 — The Life and Literature of the Hebrew
People; Religion 41 — The History of the Bible; Religion 101 —
Seminar, to be open only to graduate students and qualified sen-
The description of this seminar stated that, "The idea of God
will be considered, introductorily from the standpoint of its Bib-
lical basis, and the sociological, scientific and philosophical fac-
tors in the modern Christian view of God will be discovered and
brought into synthesis." The seminar was a two-hour course. The
other two courses were three hours a week.
For the winter quarter the courses, which met in the Baptist
Church, were as follows : Religion 2 — The Life and Teaching of
Jesus ; Religion 42 — The History and Principles of the Interpre-
tation of the Bible ; Religion 102 — Seminar. In this seminar, to
be open to graduate students and qualified seniors for two hours
a week, "specific life-situations which are of importance in the
experience of the members of the group will be analyzed and ap-
proached from the viewpoint of Jesus, as expressed in the four
The courses in the spring quarter, which were to meet at the
Episcopal Church, were: Religion 3 — Christianity in the Apos-
tolic Age; Religion 43 — The Social Message of the Bible; Re-
ligion 103 — Seminar. In this, to be open to graduate students
and qualified seniors for two hours a week,"original investiga-
tion will be made of certain selected forces, tendencies and prob-
lems in contemporary Christianity."
Professor Workman prepared syllabi for and conducted the
courses so well as to make a very favorable impression on the
Committee of the Faculty of the University who examined them
for credit in the University. A creditable library for the School
was developed. This was given to the University Library when
the School ceased operations about 1928.
The churches provided classrooms for the courses in the
School and space for the library and the office of Professor
Workman. The library and Professor Workman's office were,
however, kept in the Methodist Church, whose pastor, the Rever-
end Walter Patten, gave generously of his time and energy in
trying to raise money for the budget of the School. James A.
Gray, of Winston-Salem, was among the largest contributors to
the support of the enterprise. His interest which appeared at the
beginning of the undertaking never lagged and was to lead him
in the 1940's to establish an endowment for the Department of
Religion in the University.
Registrations for the courses in the School of Religion at Cha-
pel Hill were mostly from students, although among them were
a few younger members of the faculty, and a few people from the
village. Students were early informed that credit in the Univer-
sity was not assured but that every effort would be made to have
the work recognized by the University for credit. Apparently,
however, there was little hope that credit would be granted, al-
though friends of the undertaking and advocates for credit for its
work hoped that by these means courses in Religion or a Depart-
ment of Religion would be established in the University. It
should be noted that the churches and the Y. M. C. A. of the Uni-
versity contributed out of their budgets to the support of the
School, and other funds were raised by private subscription.
In the spring of 1928 President Harry W. Chase called a
special faculty meeting to deal with the request of the School for
academic credit. This was the principal item of business for the
meeting; and there was so much interest in the subject that at-
tendance on the meeting was unusually large. The Reverend
Charles E. Maddry, a promiment leader of the Baptist Church
in the state and the South, was present and presented a plan in
which he was interested, the so-called University of Texas plan,
with which he had been acquainted. According to Dr. Maddry,
the several churches near the campus of the University of Texas
had financed the plan at that institution, had engaged the teach-
ing staff, and had collaborated with the University in regard to
the content of the courses, which were given in church buildings
with credit allowed toward the University degree. But this plan
did not meet with favor of the University of North Carolina fa-
culty. A motion to deny credit for the courses in the School was
discussed at length and was passed with only one dissenting vote,
as a recommendation to the Board of Trustees of the University.
In June of 1928 the Trustees approved the recommendation of the
faculty, with one dissenting vote, that of Dr. Maddry. The
Trustees at that time appointed a standing committee to work
with President Chase "on ways and means of setting up such
courses in religion."
This action of the faculty and Trustees caused the School of
Religion at Chapel Hill to discontinue its activities. Professor
Workman accepted another position and the library was given
to the University's collection on religion. The remainder of the
budget was used to bring visiting lecturers to the campus, but
academic credit for these lectures was not provided. President
Chase later appointed a Committee to continue work on the sub-
ject, with the result that some departments established courses
for credit in the general field of religion. Professor A. C. Howell
of the Department of English gave a course in Comparative
Literature of the Bible. Professor Wallace E. Caldwell of the
Department of History offered a course in The History of the
Hebrews in the Old Testament Period. And Professor J. P. Har-
land of the Department of Classics gave a course in the Archae-
ology of the Bible. The courses in Ethics in the Department of
Philosophy were revitalized and an additional credit course was
offered, as was also a course in the Philosophy of Religion. Pro-
fessor Bernard's course in New Testament Greek was also con-
tinued. A total of six courses was developed and was continued in
the catalogue of the University under the general title of Re-
ligion, until the present Department of Religion was established
The Student Pastor and the Wesley Foundation
In the autumn of 1925, while the new building was still under
construction and the temporary hut was being used by the stu-
dent class, the General Board of Education of the Methodist
Episcopal Church, South, announced through its secretary at
Nashville that it would contribute to the support of a student
pastor to inaugurate more intensive work with Methodist stu-
dents in Chapel Hill. Similar aid was promised by the Board of
Missions of the North Carolina Conference and the Reverend
J. G. Phillips was installed as Student Pastor. This was in keep-
ing with the movement begun somewhat earlier in other parts
of the country where various denominations were providing fa-
cilities and personnel for work with their students at state in-
Phillips immediately began to participate in the work of the
Epworth League and the student class which from 1920 to 1927
was taught by Professor W. S. Bernard, who had taken it over
and conducted it with great success after the resignation and de-
parture of Dr. C. L. Raper from the University in 1920. Phillips
organized a special class for freshmen, visited Methodist stu-
dents in their rooms, and assisted them in setting up a budget
and planning for the activities of their various committees.
Quarters for the activities of the students were provided in the
second unit of the building, regular programs of devotional ser-
vices were maintained, and the purposes of the Church in pro-
viding an adequate home for the work of the student was rea-
lized. In 1926, a student board of stewards was organized which
concerned itself with raising a part of the budget for their
work and assisted in the direction of all activities of the organi-
Phillips served for four years and was succeeded in 1929 by
the Reverend Ralph Shumaker who remained until 1931 when,
because of the lack of funds, the student work had to be discon-
tinued except as parts of it could be carried on by the local
church through the pastor, the Sunday school, and other local
From 1931 until the pastorate of the Reverend J. M. Cul-
breth, 1938-1944, no finanicial aid for the student work other
than that furnished by the local congregation was provided,
but during the latter part of Dr. Culbreth's pastorate, some as-
sistance was secured from the North Carolina Conference for
a student worker and for the maintenance of the physical plant.
Mrs. R. W. Browning served as a student leader under Culbreth
and her husband, a graduate student in the University, succeeded
her in 1944-1945 under the Reverend Henry G. Ruark, who be-
gan his pastorate in 1944.
With the coming of Ruark plans for the reorganization of the
work were taken up with a special committee appointed by the
Wesley Foundation Commission which included J. G. Phillips,
former Student Pastor, Carl H. King, and C. S. Hubbard, from
the Commission, and H. F. Munch and G. B. Phillips from the
Chapel Hill Church. The committee developed a three-fold pro-
gram which called for (1) the development of the student pro-
gram with a full-time director; (2) the maintenance and use of
the building; and (3) the establishment of a working arrange-
ment between the Wesley Foundation and the local church
through what was known as the Campus Relations Committee.
The report of the committee was acted upon favorably and
at its December meeting in 1944, the Commission increased its
appropriation and made possible the employment of the Rever-
end Roy Everett as director in the summer of 1945. Individuals
who helped in placing the program on a sound foundation were,
from the Western North Carolina Conference, Bishop Clare
Purcell, Dr. W. A. Stanbury, Dr. E. H. Blackard, and Carl King;
and from the North Carolina Conference, the Reverend H. C.
Smith, J. G. Phillips, and J. M. Ormond, and Gurney P. Hood,
layman. As a result of this action, work with the students was
re-established under the name of the Wesley Foundation.
This organization, branches of which have been established
for Methodist churches at state institutions throughout the na-
tion, has been placed upon a permanent basis in the general or-
ganization of the church and its work has been steadily main-
tained with a director and governing board known as the Cam-
pus Relations Committee. A board of student stewards was not
appointed, but the Director of the Wesley Foundation and two
of its members are designated as ex officio and regular members
of the board of stewards of the church, and its functions have
been performed under the new organization by a finance com-
mittee, which is only one of a number of committees appointed
for devotional, social, and other special activities. It has held re-
treats at the beginning of each new academic year, conducted
various classes and discussions, invited prominent speakers from
the outside, participated in the joint activities of other local
church and campus religious groups, and maintained a well-
rounded social and devotional program suited to the needs of its
members. Thus, the student group, particularly since World War
II, has not only gained rewarding Christian experience through
the Wesley Foundation, but it has constituted a very consider-
able per cent of the attendance upon the regular devotional and
social services of the church.
Two modifications in the arrangement of the building which
have contributed greatly to the devotional and social life of the
congregation and especially of the students, were the conversion
of the east end of the corridor of the wing of the building into a
small chapel and the furnishing of one of the church parlors as
a student lounge. The first change was made in 1944 during the
pastorate of the Reverend J. M. Culbreth. Pulpit, cross, candle-
sticks, piano, pews, and other fixtures were provided through
gift, and the chapel has been constantly used for quiet medita-
tion, vespers and communion services, weddings, and other ser-
vices in which students have been the principal participators.
The second change was made in 1949 when the Wesley Founda-
tion raised a fund of more than $1,200 to match a grant of
$1,000 for the equipment of the west parlor as a student social
center. Draperies, rugs, sofas, chairs, tables, a piano, and radio
were provided and additional equipment for the director's quar-
ters was also secured. All these facilities are easily accessible
from the campus and their popularity and that of the church
kitchen and dining room are demonstrated by their constant
use. Living quarters for the director have also been fitted up
in the building as well as an office for the organization.
The following individuals have served as directors of the Wes-
ley Foundation: Roy Everett, 1945-1946; J. R. Nelson, 1946-
1948; Brooks Patten, 1948-1950; David Swain, 1950-1952; and
Joel Savell, 1952—.
The Sunday School
One of the organizations which has functioned continuously
throughout the history of the church but has greatly expanded
during the last five decades has been that of the Sunday school.
Its pressure for space for carrying on its work led to the plan-
ning for a new building in 1915, and as the church now stands
at the beginning of its second century, the Sunday school is
again leading the movement for a new educational building that
will meet the requirements for this tremendously important part
of the church's life.
It is not possible to detail the activities of the Sunday
school from 1920 to 1953, but certain changes have been effected
of considerable importance. In 1924 Mrs. B. B. Lane reorganized
the department for the children with which she has worked con-
tinuously to the present. When the move was made from the old
church to the new, the east room in the basement of the connect-
ing unit was assigned to the primary department. Mrs. J. S.
Henninger, Mrs. J. W. Lasley, and Mrs. J. A. Warren have, at
later periods, assumed important roles in the management of the
department which now consists of three divisions. A junior
department has also been added under the superintendentship of
Mrs. L. L. Garner.
A second class that dates back to the early 1920's is the
M. H. Stacy Bible Class, named in memory of Dean Marvin Stacy
who had been an unusually popular teacher not only of the
student class but also of the entire Sunday school during the
sessions of the University Summer School. It was a class for
the women of the church, and during the three decades and more
of its existence it has had a succession of teachers, v/ith Mrs.
Erie Peacock and Mrs. Hope S. Chamberlain having served
effectively in that capacity for relatively long periods.
When Robert B. House came to the University in 1926 as
Assistant to President H. W. Chase, he became the teacher of
a men's class and has taught continuously since, with Dean
G. B. Phillips as assistant teacher for many years. It has met
in the main auditorium and has been largely attended with
a number of ladies present at times. It has afforded an oppor-
tunity for the discussion of many of the religious questions of
the day, and has given the men of the congregation a fine sense
of participation in the work of the church.
In 1945, upon the return of the G. I.'s from World War II,
Professor Frank W. Hanft, of the Law School, was secured to
conduct a class for the young married couples. The class was
highly successful from the outset and has continued with un-
diminished interest until the present. The class attracted many
students from the Law and Graduate Schools and led for several
years to the presentation in Gerrard Hall by Professor Hanft of
a series of lectures on religious topics to the students of the
University and the community, the subject matter of which has
subsequently been developed more systematically in Hanft's ex-
cellent book published in 1952, You Can Believe. The class is
still conducted by Professor Hanft and has contributed effective-
ly to the religious thinking of the community.
The superintendents who have directed the activities of the
school since 1921 have been : Professor R. P. Harris, 1921-1923 ;
Harry F. Comer, 1923-1932; Dr. E. T. Browne, 1932-1945; Carl
T. Smith, 1945-1947; Dr. 0. David Garvin, 1947-1949; Colonel
George Cline, 1950-1952; and William A. Graham, 1952 to the
This record has indicated, if it has not made it abundantly
clear, that the Methodist congregation at Chapel Hill has never
had a large membership. In 1921 it was 185 and at the time of
this Centennial Celebration it is 609. The record has also shown
that it has looked to the Conferences of North Carolina for
assistance in providing in earlier days for a part of the salary
of the pastor, and in the period of building, for funds for con-
struction, and since, for the maintenance and repair of the
church plant and for the support of the work of the Wesley
Foundation. In this sense it has been a mission church as have
been the other older churches of Chapel Hill. The reason for
this is obvious. While the congregation numbered only 185 in
1921, there were more than 700 students attending the Univer-
sity who had come from Methodist homes. The two Methodist
Conferences naturally followed their sons and daughters here
and shared with the local congregation in surrounding them with
the best possible Christian influences during this highly im-
portant period of their lives. The local church, in turn, in all
of its planning for its children and members, has never been un-
mindful of this opportunity and has responded to it to the full
extent of its ability. The local budget for maintenance in 1921
when Dr. Patten returned to direct the building program, was
$2,284.00. In 1927 when his successor came, it was $6,690.00.
Today it is $18,447.00, with an additional budget of $5,390
from the Conference and student sources for the Wesley Foun-
dation. At all times, whatever the budget has been, the con-
gregation has known that it has had the rare privilege of con-
tributing to the enrichment and deepening of the spiritual life
of oncoming student generations.
The Pastors and Presiding Elders
The pastors who have served this church during the past
four decades have, like their predecessors, responded to the
challenge which every minister must feel when he looks out
over a congregation of which university students form a con-
siderable part. An appraisal of the work of these devoted
men is not called for here. Some of their services, especially
those relating to the building program of the 1920's and the
organization of student work, have been dealt with in those
connections. But in every instance, they have given unremitting
attention to the devotional services of the church, to the work
of the Sunday school, to student and other organizations, to
pastoral visiting, and to the maintenance of essential relations
with the University and the Conferences. Through word and
deed they have devotedly held aloft the Christian ideals they
have professed. In chronological order they have been : Walter
Patten, 1913-1916; Euclid McWhorter, 1917-1921; Walter Pat-
ten, 1922-1926; C. Excell Rozzelle, 1927-1930; Albea Godbold,
1931-1934; W. A. Jenkins, 1934-1935; A. P. Brantley, 1935-
1937; J. M. Culbreth, 1938-1943; Henry G. Ruark, 1944-1948;
and William M. Howard, 1949-1953. Today throughout North
Carolina and the nation, there are hundreds of men and women
now leaders in their churches who remember with gratitude
these men who influenced profoundly their religious experience
in their student days.
The presiding elders who have supervised the work of the
churches of the Durham District have exerted a less direct but
none the less significant influence upon the students and members
of the congregation. It has been their responsibility to select
the pastors, to maintain the connections with the Conferences,
to preside over the Quarterly Conferences, and from time to time
to conduct the devotional services and minister to the special
needs of the congregation. Their assistance in carrying out the
building program was indispensable and to them Methodism in
Chapel Hill is greatly indebted. Those who have thus contribu-
ted to the well-being of the church since 1913 have been the
Reverends H. M. North, 1913-1915; J. C. Wooten, 1915-1919;
M. T. Plyler, 1919-1923; M. Bradshaw, 1923-1927; J. C. Wooten,
1927-1931; H. C. Smith, 1931-1934; H. B. Potter, 1934-1938; A.
J. Hobbs, 1938-1942; F. S. Love, 1942-1944; H. C. Smith, 1944-
1948; and E. L. Hillman, 1948-1953.
The Officials and Boards
The work of the church throughout the four decades covered
by this part of the record has required the continuous coopera-
tion of the pastors and the various officers and boards, all of
which are responsible to the local governing body known as the
Quarterly Conference. The pastor, the director of the Wesley
Foundation, the Sunday school, the women's organizations, the
Methodist Youth Fellowship, the Campus Relations Committee
in charge of the work of the Wesley Foundation, the trustees of
church property, and the board of stewards have membership
in it; and although they carry on their functions separately,
they make their reports to it.
Of these organizations, the board of stewards is the body
whose special responsibility is to provide for the physical and
financial needs of the church. It also shares in the responsibility
for maintaining at a high level the spiritual life of the church.
During this period, the responsibilities of this board have been
constant and exacting. The erection of the temporary hut, of
the parsonage, and of the church; the maintenance and repair
of the physical plant; the installation of the new organ; and
the increasing support of many phases of the church's work
have been cared for by this group of devoted members whose
chairmen have been : L. R. Wilson, 1913-1916 ; H. M. Wagstaff,
1916-1921; L. R. Wilson, 1921-1932; R. B. House, 1932-1933;
H. F. Comer, 1933-1935; R. B. House, 1935-1937; G. B. Phillips,
1937-1946; L. R. Roof, 1946-1947; J. W. Lasley, 1947-194.8; C.
W. Davis, 1948-1949; G. B. Phillips, 1949-1951; Earl Slocum,
1951- 1952; and W. S. Stewart, 1952-1953.
The church is an institution. In that sense it completes
a century, or centuries, and still moves forward. Its members
are people drawn together in search of fellowship with one
another and of at-oneness with God. During the century now
ended, many individuals have joined this church for these pur-
poses and have devoted much of their lives to its service. Recog-
nition of their labors is not sought as an end. The rewards are
individual and spiritual. If recognition comes at all, it comes
in ways not generally publicized. There are a few individuals
in the present membership, however, whose services have so
nearly touched the lives of everyone that their names should
be included with those who have served in other capacities
such as have been considered in the earlier part of this record.
Clyde Eubanks, senior member of the congregation, joined it
in 1895. He has been a member of the board of stewards for
fifty-five years, and there are records of his treasurership of
the Sunday school and the church for thirty-five and twenty
years, respectively. For all his well nigh three-score years of
attendance, he has rarely been absent from his pew, and his
presence has been an inspiration and benediction to all who
have worshipped here.
Music, flowers, and the communion table have likewise left
their impress on each member of the congregation. Mrs. Earl
Slocum and Mrs. Preston Epps, as organists; Miss Josephine
Pritchard, as chairman of the flower committee; Mrs. H. M.
Wagstaff and Mrs. M. H. Stacy, as Communion Stewards, have,
Sunday after Sunday for many years, through their ministra-
tions evoked in everyone a deeper reverence and devotion. Their
labors, like those of others whose work has been noted earlier,
merit inclusion in this final page of record and remembrance .
What of the Future?
The events of the first century of the church are now a
matter of record. The question, what of the future, may now
be asked. Today, with the Sunday school unable to house its
classes, the Wesley Foundation growing in numbers and maturi-
ty of experience, the Methodist Youth Fellowship developing
a more effective program, the Women's Society well organized
and constantly extending and enriching its services, the choir
with its many excellent voices contributing to the spirituality
of the splendidly attended devotional and communion services,
the opportunity to extend and enrich the spiritual experience
of all those to whom the church may minister is infinitely
greater than it has ever been before. And, as thirty-eight
years ago, the immediate goal of the congregation should be
the erection of the third unit of the plant envisioned by Patten,
McWhorter, Rogers, and the local board of stewards, to furnish
adequate educational space and facilities for the children and
members of the local congregation and for the Methodist youth
in the University who, at the peak of the post-war enrollment
in 1945-1946, numbered more than 1700 and may well exceed
2000 in the present decade. Student customs have been modified
throughout the years and they will continue to change. Many
students go home at the week-end, but many remain and avail
themselves of the opportunity of participating in all of the social
and devotional services of church life. They experience, with
others, the hunger of the human heart for fellowship with the
Divine, which abides. It is this fact, unchanging and impera-
tive, that again throws down the challenge which only added
facilities and deeper consecration and devotion can meet.
List of Ministers
Charles Force Deems, 1842 — 1846. Listed as "attached to the
University," or as "Professor in the University."
1847 — 1849. No pastor assigned.
Samuel Milton Frost, 1850 — 1851. Listed as "student in the
J. L. Fisher, 1852—1853. Hillsboro and Chapel Hill.
Peter Doub, 1854.
H. T. Hudson, 1855—1856.
Adolphus W. Mangum, 1857—1858. Chapel Hill and Hillsboro.
Jesse A. Cunninggim, 1859 — 1860.
John W. Jenkins, 1861—1862.
Robert A. Williams, 1863.
William C. Wilson, 1864.
R. S. Webb, 1865.
0. J. Brent, 1866—1868. Chapel Hill and Haw River.
Jesse A. Cunninggim, 1869.
J. B. Martin, 1870—1873.
W. H. Moore, 1874.
J. J. Renn, 1875—1877.
J. F. Heitman, 1878—1879.
J. F. Heitman and T. A. Stone, 1880—1881.
M. H. Moore and J. F Heitman, 1882.
R. B. John, 1883—1885.
J. R. Griffith, 1886.
R. C. Beaman, 1887.
W. B. North, 1888—1889, Lee Whitaker.
E. H. Davis, 1890.
N. M. Watson, 1891—1893.
L. S. Massey, 1894—1895.
N. H. D. Wilson, 1896—1899.
N. M. Watson, 1900—1902.
M. T. Plyler, 1903—1905.
W. R. Royal, 1906—1909.
W. A. Stanbury, 1910—1911.
G. S. Bearden, 1912. Undergraduate Student.
Walter Patten, 1913—1916.
Euclid McWhorter, 1917—1921.
Walter Patten, 1922—1925.
Walter Patten and J. G. Phillips, 1926.
C. Excell Rozzelle and J. G. Phillips, 1927—1928.
C. Excell Rozzelle and Ralph Shumaker, 1929—1930.
Albea Godbold, 1931—1933.
W. A. Jenkins, 1934.
A. P. Brantley, 1935—1937.
J. M. Culbreth, 1938—1943.
Henry G. Ruark, 1944—1948.
William M. Howard, 1949—1953.
ft I 8 1999
OUKE UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES
Div.S. 287.6756565 C462 1954
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DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA